June 22nd, 2024

Mayor to present masking resolution for City facilities

By Tim Kalinowski on September 1, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

With dramatically rising COVID numbers across the province in recent days, Mayor Chris Spearman will bring forth an Official Business Resolution at next week’s city council meeting which would, if passed, make wearing masks or face coverings mandatory at all City-owned indoor facilities, including the Enmax Centre, through the end of the year.
“Whereas the Covid-19 4th Wave is seeing significant increases in the last few weeks across the province of Alberta,” the OBR reads,
“and Whereas the City of Lethbridge wishes to keep all citizens safe and minimize the spread of Covid-19 in our city and,
“Whereas the City of Lethbridge also wishes to do everything it can to maintain public health in order to keep businesses in our city open and
“Whereas the Government of Alberta strongly encourages all citizens to become fully vaccinated and
“Whereas the World Health Organization, Health Canada and the US Centers for Disease Control and numerous other medical experts are openly stating that vaccines alone will not limit the spread of the Delta variant and
“Whereas physical distancing, regular hand washing, use of hand sanitizer and wearing of masks have been recognized as effective in limiting the spread of Covid 19,
“Therefore Be It Resolved that the City of Lethbridge require that masks be worn in all city owned facilities until December 31, 2021.”
Next Tuesday’s meeting will be the last regular meeting of city council prior to the municipal election, and that’s why Spearman is introducing a more limited OBR pertaining to City-owned facilities and not a more widespread public bylaw as was in place before.
“Because it is an Official Business Resolution it can apply immediately to City-owned facilities if it is passed,” explains Spearman.
With a community bylaw it would have to pass three readings of city council and be officially advertised to the public at least 15 days prior to second or third reading taking place.
“Right now we are running into a time where we are getting very close to the election day,” he acknowledges. “It might be tricky to pass a bylaw and observe all the rules. This is showing leadership. By saying it applies to City facilities is a start.”
Spearman says the recent alarming rise in COVID-19 numbers in Alberta along with an “absence of leadership” on the part of the provincial government is what prompted him to bring forward this OBR at the last scheduled meeting of city council of this term.
“We understand from medical experts that the policy of double vaccines, and pushing those vaccines, is commendable, but not enough in terms of dealing with the Delta (variant),” he says. “The experts are recommending that all health protocols be used and observed by everyone, including the wearing of masks.”
Spearman says he believes discussing and voting on this OBR is a moral obligation for city council.
“I think it is an issue which has to be discussed and debated,” he says. “I think it would be a moral obligation to have this discussion, and, of course, all members of council have the opportunity to participate and state their views. But it is not being done for political reasons. It is being done out of a sense of timing and urgency given the situation with COVID across the province. As the numbers keep escalating, how are we going to keep each other safe?”
Spearman says there is a lot at stake for the community coming into the fall season with the looming fourth wave ready to take hold.
“I would ask everyone to be respectful of each other, and to do their best,” states Spearman. “I think we all have a responsibility in the community to do our best to keep each other safe. Let’s do whatever we can, and make sure Lethbridge remains a safe city in terms of what people can do … The date on this is very specific, Dec. 31. That will give the next council a chance to reassess it.
“It is (also) important we keep our numbers low through the crucial business season,” Spearman adds. “The fall is the busiest business season of the year for our retailers and our shopping malls. Let’s make sure this COVID fourth wave does not get out of control in the City of Lethbridge.”

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John P Nightingale

Good for the mayor. Edmonton saw sense re masking even if the province does not.
It will be interesting to see if the “naysayers”, Hyggens, Mauro and others will vote this sensible proposal down – or not. Their reasoning before was that there was already a province wide mask mandate but that is cleary not the case now.
The usual suspects (“Plushie and company) will no doubt express outrage via these pages, that their freedoms are being taken away which is one side of the argument but the other side is the increasing human cost because of the variant and lack of provincial direction.
Currently our vaccination numbers are not high enough, children are back in school facing different COVID protocols depending on the board, a more contagious variant is circulating and hospital cases are rising.
Mask provide some (albeit limited) protection for the wearer and reduces the viral environmental load.
The mayor’s motion makes sense.

Last edited 2 years ago by John P Nightingale