Mask mandate bylaw now in effect in Spruce Grove

"The City recognizes it will take some time for residents to be made aware of the temporary bylaw."

A sign in Steve's No Frills in Spruce Grove reminds residents that masks and face coverings are now mandatory in public indoor, enclosed or mostly enclosed spaces due to Spruce Grove officially being placed under a COVID-19 watch status by the provincial government Friday. Many people are exempt from the rule and peace officers can issue tickets of not less than $100 for violations. Evan J. Pretzer

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Activity in an indoor, enclosed or substantially enclosed public place or vehicle will now require a mask to go with it in Spruce Grove.

The City officially instituted its bylaw for mandatory face coverings Friday after the area crossed the COVID-19 threshold for a watch from the province with 19 active cases as of this story being filed. Exemptions under the bylaw exclude children under the age of 10 from the rule and those who are not able to wear a face covering due to a mental or physical concern or limitation. Peace officers can issue tickets of not less than $100 to anyone who has contravened the bylaw but their priority will be on education and awareness over enforcement responses.

“The City recognizes it will take some time for residents to be made aware of the temporary bylaw and to make the necessary adjustments,” a statement on the change reads. “The bylaw will remain active for a period of 30 days following the removal of the provincial watch status.”

The response from area residents has been mixed so far with some dismissing the action as a “joke” on Facebook and a similar mixture of perspectives was found on council when the emergency power was debated over the summer. Coun. Wayne Rothe added he did not like wearing a mask but it was important to consider the broader context of wearing one and what it can help a community to end up avoiding.

“I hate wearing a mask. Nobody likes wearing a mask,” he said in August. “While I dislike it, there are things I dislike more such as another lockdown which I believe is inevitable if we do not take the right steps. Brooks went from zero to over 100 cases in just one week and that was mostly based on community spread … I believe we will get there in the second wave. Don’t think it can’t happen here because it can.”

More information can be found on the City website.