Chestermere City Council received a discussion on mandatory face mask use as information during the Sept. 1 Regular Meeting of Council.
“Mandatory mask wearing has been a topic in many communities, including in our region. It was felt that we should also have that discussion and ask for guidance if needed from our Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Director of Emergency Management (DEM),” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers.
“There’s always a fine balance between enforcing an issue versus having a partnership with the community,” said CAO and DEM, Bernie Morton.
City council has received an overwhelming amount of compliance from residents choosing to wear face masks when maintaining a distance of two metres is not possible.
“We have excellent compliance with the businesses. There are some people who have chosen to not wear a mask, but we still see far more people wearing masks,” Morton said.
“I’m very encouraged with what I see in the community and the participation in wearing masks. Specifically, to the businesses that have implemented their own policies, I think our community is doing very well,” Chalmers said.
“We are very nimble, if things take a drastic turn, we can come back together and address it again at that time, he added. “Right now, I don’t see the need to have an enforcement tool, I’d rather go down the education path.”
Moving forward, the City of Chestermere will continue to release public service announcements, reminding residents of regulations.
“We will continue what we’re doing to try and keep COVID-19 at bay. It doesn’t take much for things to change quite quickly, but it’s in residents’ hands now, and we’re there in the event that there’s an outbreak or a dramatic change in our COVID-19 cases,” Morton said.
“Enforcing a mask is not necessary at this point in time, but we are closely monitoring it if there is that need,” he said.
Adding, “We’ve shown that when we need to act promptly in regards to the pandemic, we have done so.”
City Councillor Michelle Young agreed with Chalmers that there isn’t a need to make mask use mandatory.
“We’re running out of places where we can go where masks are not regulated by either the corporation or the organization. Our residents are getting it. I see a lot of mask-wearing,” Young said.
“For now, I think our numbers are good, our residents are respectful, and I don’t see a need at this point for a legislated bylaw to get us through that,” she said.
“It’s not something that needs to be regulated, I hope and encourage our residents to not get too complacent and be very aware that the virus is incredibly active,” said City Councillor Yvette Kind.
“It’s an extra level of security, and above all else, it helps protect our most vulnerable, particularly our seniors and those most susceptible to the virus,” she added. “We’re not at bylaw stage quite yet, but hopefully everybody will be taking that extra level of precaution.”