Despite not have a temporary face covering bylaw in place, officials in the County of Grande Prairie hope elevated COVID-19 numbers in the region are a wake-up call for residents when it comes to wearing masks. Director of Community Services Dan Lemieux says with numbers in the Grande Prairie area quickly rising, he expects to see more and more people wearing masks in public places without a mandate.
“I think the numbers speak for themselves, and we’ve been hearing warnings from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and I think now it’s proven true, and what she has been predicting is happening,” he says.
As of October 25th, there are 15 active cases of COVID-19 in the County of Grande Prairie, and 91 in the City of Grande Prairie, which has triggered the city’s mandatory mask bylaw. Lemieux says the county is continuing to enforce health and safety protocols within all municipal buildings and hopes others will follow its lead.
“We are again reinforcing the Alberta Health Services protocols, and asking our staff to monitor their health and to call in sick if there is any indication whatsoever if they may have the primary or secondary symptoms.”
Lemieux adds, at this point, he hopes it’s a moment of realization for anyone who wasn’t taking the threat of the virus seriously, as he believes the community has an important role to play in stopping the quick spread of COVID-19.
The City of Grande Prairie’s Bylaw C-1426 mandates the use of face masks or coverings inside public buildings, with exceptions. It requires masks to be worn in indoor public spaces when physical distancing via a screen, window, or other physical barrier is not possible. It doesn’t apply in schools, hospitals, and health care facilities, parts of public facilities only accessed by staff, and for drivers of public vehicles properly distanced or protected by a shield.