The Town of Stony Plain has joined its neighbours in Spruce Grove by triggering its mask mandate due to rising cases of COVID-19.
The community was officially given a watch status from Alberta Health Services Monday with 11 active cases in the area as of this story being filed. Face coverings will now need to be worn in all indoor, enclosed public spaces and vehicles with exemptions being provided for those under 10, those unable to use one without assistance, those with mental or physical concerns, those consuming food and drink, people engaged in water activities or physical exercise, people caring for another with a disability where a mask would hinder the ability to provide the service and people engaging in services which may require the temporary removal of a face covering while they are out and on the job.
“At present there are 11 active cases in Stony Plain. We want to remind residents to keep following physical distancing guidelines and support one another during this uncertain time,” Karl Hill, general manager of Community and Protective Services said. “We know people are getting tired of the constant updates and changes to health protocols but we must stay vigilant doing what we can to reduce the risk.”
The emergency bylaw will be in place until further notice. In the runup to the present moment there was a lot of divisive commentary and opinion similar to the deliberations by officials in Spruce Grove. Only 51 per cent of respondents to a poll on the issue from the Town indicated they were in favour of the idea and Mayor William Choy indicated it was good, needed and was struck by the criticisms received.
“We have got to be united on this,” he said at the time. “If we do not have this when we need to deal with it, it may already be too late. I have been inundated with emails and messaging from people in and outside of our community. The worst one I received said if I supported masks, I would be supporting child trafficking, because you cannot see a child’s face if they are getting kidnapped. On the other side, someone told me if I did not support masks, I would be enabling murder. A bylaw enforced at a trigger allows us to hit both sides.”
More information on the Town response to COVID-19 and the bylaw can be found online.