At the August 17 regular meeting, Okotoks Town Council passed third reading of a bylaw requiring masks be worn in all indoor municipal spaces, which comes into effect August 24. Council also passed an additional bylaw that would require mandatory masks in all indoor public spaces if the number of active COVID-19 cases in Okotoks reaches 15.
“This provides an extra measure to control the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of our residents,” said Mayor Bill Robertson. “Council’s direction is important as it establishes safety protocols for the community which may then be applied to all indoor public spaces.”
The regulations will require masks to be worn in all indoor municipal facilities including the recreation centre, Pason Arenas, the Municipal Centre, Oktoks Art Galeery, Museum, and the Eco Centre.
The bylaw excludes children under the age of two, or resistant children five years and under; persons with medical conditions or disabilities, and employees not working with the public or who are separated by a physical barrier. The focus will be on educating the public rather than enforcement.
Masks will still be voluntary for businesses and privately owned facilities, unless active cases reach 15, which will be in effect until actives cases are under 15 for 30 consecutive days.
The bylaw provides a balance between ensuring public safety and providing the flexibility for businesses to determine the best ways they can support their customers. It is important to note that masks are an additional safety measure and that everyone needs to continue to practice 2-metre physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home if they are feeling unwell.