Okotoks, Alta. mandates mask use in all public indoor areas
CALGARY -- After an outbreak of COVID-19 reached 16 positive cases in the town of Okotoks, the community’s bylaw mandating mask usage went into effect.
Earlier this year, town council passed the bylaw mandating the use of masks in public places, including businesses and restaurants if COVID-19 cases spiked over 15.
That day arrived Monday.
“The town needs to protect the health and safety of all residents.,” said Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson in a release.
“Mandatory masks are an additional safety measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve more quickly.”
The regulations require masks to be worn in entertainment venues, retail stores, places of worship, gyms, studios, common areas of hotels, medical clinics and municipal buildings.
The bylaw excludes children under two and resistant children under the age of five.
The town says businesses are not expected to evict a customer or refuse service to people who don't comply with the bylaw.
“We’ve got our loyal followers, that I know are going to support us no matter what bylaw comes into play,” said Lisa Watts, owner of Hubtown Brewing.
“I think there’s a few outliers that we see on Facebook, that are claiming they’ll avoid Okotoks like the plague.”
Town officials say bylaw officers will give warnings, however if they deem warnings to be insufficient, fines of $100 will be given to those failing to wear a mask indoors.
Businesses can be dinged $200 for failing to display a mandatory mask sign.
The bylaw will be in effect until actives cases drop below 15 for 30 consecutive days.
Okotoks has a population of 30,000.