Masks & Face Coverings
Bylaw 2076, the Face Covering Bylaw, was repealed by Council at the June 14, 2021 meeting and is no longer in effect.
While the bylaw is no longer in place, masks are still currently mandatory in all indoor public places, places of worship, and indoor workplaces, per the Government of Alberta.
Why was the Bylaw repealed?
In short, the Town’s bylaw is no longer enforceable due to changes in how the Government of Alberta tracks and reports cases.
The Face Covering Bylaw set a certain threshold for when masks would be required in town. The criteria to require masks was that the number of active cases of COVID-19 infections in the Municipal District of Peace #135
(which, was set out in the COVID Relaunch Status Map by the Government of Alberta and included the Town of Peace River) were at a “Watch” Status, with at least ten (10) active cases and a rate of active cases of more than fifty (50) per 100,000. When the Bylaw was written, this language reflected the Province’s classification system for the spread of COVID-19. This terminology (‘Watch’) is no longer in use. It was replaced by the terms “High case count” or “Low case count”. These terms – Watch, Case Count – were used to set the level of restrictions: masks, gathering limits etc. by region.
However, on June 1, the newer terms were also discontinued and a single set of restrictions came into effect province-wide. With these changes, the condition of “Watch” status cannot be met. Therefore The Bylaw is not presently enforceable.
The Face Covering Bylaw was enacted for several reasons, chief of these being public safety. At the time the Bylaw was drafted, case counts were rising significantly and the Province’s regional approach to restrictions left municipalities responsible for this measure. The use of face masks was neither widespread nor customary and the benefits of masking were not well documented. Most importantly, vaccines were not available and restrictive measures were the sole option for reducing the spread of the virus.
For up-to-date information regarding the Government of Alberta’s rules around masks or face coverings please visit their website: alberta.ca/masks
Vaccines are now available to all Albertans over the age of 12. Vaccines are safe and effective and the best way to end the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines including how to get your shot visit: alberta.ca/vaccine