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The Town of High Level Council has repealed Face Coverings Bylaw 1013-20.
Council voted to remove the Bylaw during their regular meeting on Monday, March 22.
“This is the Town face mask bylaw,” said Mayor Crystal McAteer. “This is not the Provincial Health Order. Face masks will still be required as per the Provincial Health Order. We are just repealing the Town of High Level Face Coverings Bylaw.”
Bylaw 1020-21 passed all three readings and officially repealed the Face Coverings Bylaw.
The Provincial Health Order currently includes rules around indoor mask use in public spaces, creating an overlap with the Town Bylaw. The Public Health Order supersedes the Town’s Bylaw, which was only in effect for a short time before the Provincial rules came into force and the Bylaw was deactivated.
In presenting the Request for Decision, CAO Clark McAskile noted the potential for difficulty in enforcing a mask bylaw without the support of the Provincial health authorities or RCMP.
“We have some concerns regarding what happens once the provincial order comes off for face masking,” said Town CAO Clark McAskile. “There is no indication it will in the near future, but it could just cause confusion amongst the public as to whether face masks are required.
“They are. But it would be upon us to enforce that.”
The Province currently has benchmarks in place for the easing of restrictions based on hospitalization numbers. To date, there has been no mention of removing the face covering requirement from the Public Health Order.
Local residents must refer to the rules set in place by the Provincial government in regards to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Signage created for the purpose of reminding local residents of the mask requirement will still be available for local businesses or residents wishing to make use of them.
Bylaw 1013-20 also included the ability for those who required a mask exemption to obtain a doctor’s note to receive an exemption card. These cards are no longer useable for any means and should be disposed of, as they do not exempt the holders from any part of the Public Health Order.
“Anyone carrying cards that say Town of High Level – excused medical – they are void – and have been since the provincial health order,” said McAteer.