New bylaw makes face coverings mandatory in public indoor spaces and public vehicles once County reaches trigger of 25 active COVID-19 cases.

August 7, 2020

New bylaw makes face coverings mandatory in public indoor spaces and public vehicles once County reaches trigger of 25 active COVID-19 cases.

At a special Council meeting on August 6, 2020, Strathcona County Council  approved the Temporary Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw 46-2020 that mandates face coverings in indoor public places and public vehicles - when Alberta Health Services reports 25 or more active COVID-19 cases in the municipality. There are currently nine active cases of COVID-19 in Strathcona County. 

August 7, 2020

New bylaw makes face coverings mandatory in public indoor spaces and public vehicles; once County reaches trigger of 25 active COVID-19 cases.

At a special Council meeting on August 6, 2020, Strathcona County Council approved the Temporary Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw 46-2020 that mandates face coverings in indoor public places and public vehicles - when Alberta Health Services reports 25 or more active COVID-19 cases in the municipality. There are currently nine active cases of COVID-19 in Strathcona County.

“After considering community feedback, regional alignment and importantly public health direction, Council believes this bylaw provides a best evidence and health-based approach that protects the public,” says Mayor Rod Frank. “I want to thank residents, the business community and ministerial association for their input on this very important topic, as well as of course Alberta Health Services guidance.

"Our community continues to demonstrate a collective responsibility to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many people are voluntarily choosing to wear face coverings in public, as well as maintaining physical distancing and frequent hand washing. This bylaw is in place as an additional safeguard if our COVID-19 infection rates rise.”

The bylaw is set for automatic repeal on November 17, 2020, or as deemed necessary by Council.

As a reminder, Strathcona County continues to require the use of face coverings in its facilities and transit. For more information, visit strathcona.ca/masks or call 780-464-8111. 

In addition, Council approved a motion to advocate, alongside other Alberta mid-size municipalities, for a provincial approach to mandating face coverings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What does the bylaw require?

The bylaw mandates that if Strathcona County reaches 25 active COVID-19 cases, as reported by Alberta Health Services, face coverings must be worn in the following places: 

  • Public vehicles for hire (taxis, ridesharing businesses, vehicles for hire)

  • Public indoor spaces (malls, grocery stores, retail businesses, places of worship)

  • County facilities (recreation centres, County buildings)

Strathcona County’s primary focus will remain on educating on the importance of wearing face coverings in indoor public spaces and public vehicles. Once the bylaw is triggered, failure to wear a face covering when required can result in a penalty of $100.

For more information about the Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw 46-2020 visit strathcona.ca/masks or call 780-464-8111. 

What are the exceptions?

Should the County reach 25 active COVID-19 cases, exceptions to the bylaw would include: 

  • Children under 10 years of age. 

  • People who are unable to place, use or remove a face covering without assistance 

  • People with mental or physical concerns or limitations inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering 

  • People who are eating or drinking in designated seating areas; or as part of a religious or spiritual ceremony (eg: to receive communion)  

  • People who are exercising or engaging in athletic activities 

  • Caregivers or those accompanying someone with a disability, when wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person’s disability (eg: the ability to lip read)  

  • People who need to temporarily remove their face covering to provide or receive a service  

This municipal bylaw does not apply to the following places: 

  • Schools and other educational facilities 

  • Hospitals and health-care facilities 

  • Child-care facilities 

  • Areas not accessed by the public  

Public and business input 

Strathcona County invited the public to share opinions on expanding mandatory face coverings (eg: non-medical masks) to all indoor public settings and public vehicles-for-hire, throughout Strathcona County.  

Online survey results from 7,960 respondents show 61.5 per cent support for mandatory wearing face coverings in public indoor spaces and for-hire transportation. Of business respondents, 63.2 per cent did not think a mandatory municipal bylaw would help to enforce people wearing face coverings at their place of business. Visit strathcona.ca/engagement for a copy of the survey report. 

Working with our community 

The County continues to educate and encourage the community to work together to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and to prevent a spike in infection rates.  

A toolkit with downloadable signage for businesses and community groups who wish to encourage the public to wear face coverings will be available soon on the County’s website.  

Prevent the spread 

Alberta Health Services strongly recommends masks should be worn when it's difficult to maintain two metres (six feet) distance from people, whether you are outdoors or indoors.

Alberta Health Services is responsible for reporting on the number of COVID-19 cases throughout the province.

Face coverings are one action individuals can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. When combined with measures such as physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and staying home when sick, face coverings are effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19.  

Ongoing safety-based  approach  

The health and safety of the community, including County staff, remains the top priority as the COVID-19 situation continues to change.   

Strathcona County has implemented additional preventative measures to limit the spread of infection. Strathcona County meets, and in many cases exceeds, Alberta Health Service’s cleaning and disinfection protocols for COVID-19. For more information on the County’s cleaning protocols, visit  strathcona.ca/cleaningprotocols  

Strathcona County’s Emergency Management Agency continues to action contingency planning and response to COVID-19.   

As this health crisis unfolds, information will continue to evolve and change. The information listed in this release, as well as updates, are posted to   strathcona.ca/covid19.  

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of hydrocarbon processing in Western Canada. Strathcona County is a leader in environmental conservation, and 55 per cent of its land is within the UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595