COLD LAKE – Masks won’t be mandatory in the City of Cold Lake.
City council decided against implementing a mask bylaw during their Sept. 15 corporate priorities committee meeting.
“There wasn’t much support to make masks mandatory in the community,” said City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland. “We’re just going to keep on doing what we’re doing, which is follow the direction from the chief medical officer, and we’re just going to leave it at that.”
Administration outlined bylaws being implemented by other municipalities during the meeting, including those that take effect immediately after passing, and ones that are trigger-based and only go into effect once a specific event occurs - like an increase in the number of active cases.
If they had implemented a bylaw that went into effect when cases reach a certain number, Copeland wondered how many would warrant mandatory masks.
“We felt that it was just out of our expertise, and we would rather just default to the chief medical officer,” he stated, adding council could revisit the subject if Cold Lake sees an increase in the number of active cases.
“We can quickly adapt if cases start to get high here but, right now, I think everyone in the area is doing a great job at social distancing the best they can and there aren’t that many activities that are going on out there. There’s no concerts or big events, so you’re limiting the crowd even at weddings. We’re just going to leave it alone and just wait for COVID-19 to run its course, hopefully.”
Although masks won’t be mandatory in public spaces, some businesses and organizations in Cold Lake do require customers to wear face coverings while using their establishment based on their corporate policies.
“We’re leaving that decision to the companies and in the businesses' hands. We don’t want to make those kinds of decisions for the people,” Copeland stressed.
The city encouraged residents to wear masks in public when it’s difficult or impossible to maintain physical distancing of six feet, reminded people to practice good hand hygiene, and to stay home when sick of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.