As COVID-19 cases in Alberta continue to creep up, the debate of mandatory mask use continues to be on the radar.
Recently Edmonton and Calgary have taken action and passed mandatory mask bylaws.
Drumheller CAO Darryl Drohomerski says while they are encouraging the use of masks, mandatory masks are not on the radar in Drumheller, but the debate may linger as Alberta moves towards its third phase of opening.
“We are not at that point. Calgary still has concerns for two reasons, one they are still high numbers and they really want to protect people on their transit systems,” said Drohomerski.
The town continues to urge residents to follow all protocols.
“We are still telling people to do all of these things; social distancing, stay home if you can, wash your hands, sanitize and wear masks when you are out in public,” said Drohomerski.
He says Valley Bus has protocols for sanitizing and drivers wear masks. The busses are also running at half capacity. Town staff is also following protocols. He does note he has noticed the community at large is not continuing to be as careful as when the pandemic began.
“All of us have been a bit complacent. It is nice outside,” he said.
“I don’t think we are at a point where we need to put a mask protocol in place like they did in Calgary.”
Drumheller is unique in that it hosts many visitors every year, and the tourism industry is rebounding. This poses a different approach to many facilities. Recently communities are seeing some facilities such as swimming pools and spray parks opening. Drumheller’s spray park opened on July 2.
“In our spray park, we have established a protocol pretty specific and well above what Stettler is doing as far as cleaning and sanitizing because we recognize we are not just getting a few dozen people a day and they are locals. We have been averaging 250-300 people a day through that facility,” he said.
On July 13, the province announced a second round of mask distribution through local A&W, McDonald’s and Tim Hortons restaurants. Masks are also available at local retailers for purchase.