County of Grande Prairie Reeve Leanne Beaupre is urging all residents to remain calm and kind when it comes to mask use both in the County and City of Grande Prairie. This, after the province moved the County of Grande Prairie to a COVID-19 watch when it reached 19 active cases Tuesday.

“We’re still in it and we haven’t come out the other side yet, and we need everyone to do all of the good work they’ve done in the past, and just be mindful of the fact the numbers are growing,” Beaupre says.

Beaupre notes, while the province is showing great concern over large gatherings where social distancing and other measures may not be strictly adhered to, it’s imperative that residents across the region also take the use of things like masks, hand washing, and social distancing seriously, or the consequences could be dire.

“We know what it’s like to be locked down; we don’t want to go back there, and I don’t think some of our businesses can afford to go back there. Alberta Health has been very forthcoming and specific about the use of masks, and encourage everyone to use masks, especially in instances where there are larger gatherings and you can’t keep your distance of at least six feet apart.

Beaupre adds, for all the talk of people not wanting to put on face masks, she says the opposite seems to actually be happening when residents venture out.

“Honestly, I didn’t see anybody put up a stink, or even bat an eye. It was like, they’ve asked us, we’ll do it, and we know this is for a good reason, and for the safety of not only themselves but for others.”

A watch status refers to the presence of at least 10 active cases of COVID-19 and more than 50 active cases per 100,000 within a municipality. The addition of the status means the province is monitoring the risk and will discuss with the County, as well as other community leaders the potential need for extra public health measures.