Councillors in the County of Grande Prairie will soon be wading into the mandatory mask debate. County Reeve Leanne Beaupre says members of the administration are currently reviewing the matter internally, and there will most likely be preliminary discussions taking place at a time yet to be decided.

“We have a health and wellness committee, and it has been referred to have the discussion and bring some recommendations back… it is a discussion we have heard and continue to consider.”

However, she adds the municipality as a whole is closely following health and wellness guidelines as the discussion about mandating things like masks continues across Alberta.

“In what facilities we do have, we are following the Alberta Health guidelines on social distancing, and if you’re not able to do that, masks are [highly recommended] in those facilities presently,” Beaupre clarifies. “I think we will continue to try and make sure we are following those guidelines, but ultimately the safety of our residents and staff is most important to us.”

Beaupre adds the County has been lucky thus far when it comes to total COVID-19 case numbers, with seven active and 14 recovered cases of COVID-19 for the entirety of the county as of July 28th. However, she says the current state of numbers is only a snapshot in time and could change quickly, and any decisions made would be done with those potential realities in mind.

“There is certainly a concern not only for those that live in rural areas, but also the concern about numbers, and the short of it, we will have to consider every option depending on what numbers do.”

Both Calgary and Edmonton have passed bylaws making mask-wearing mandatory for indoor public spaces and several other Alberta municipalities are considering similar moves. County of Grande Prairie councillors will next meet on August 10th.