Tarpey says mandatory mask bylaw in Peace River unlikely

Peace River Mayor, Tom Tarpey is not expecting a bylaw on mandatory face coverings to be brought forward.

The town did a survey of: residents within the town, businesses and visitors in the region who visit Peace River.

Communications Coordinator, Autumn Hulme gave council the results at Tuesday’s governance and priorities meeting.

According to the document presented in council chambers, there were 2,821 respondents to the survey.

This shattered the mark of 517 respondents, which was the town survey with the second most answers.

According to the findings, 46.75 percent of respondents who live within town limits support a mandatory mask bylaw in businesses.

When people who filled out the survey from neighbouring communities are factored in, 53.86 percent do not support a mask rule of any kind.

“There is no point in bringing a bylaw forward but administration was encouraged to initiate some education around the masks and get people to wear them voluntarily,” says Tarpey.

Tarpey has expressed support for mandatory masks and points to the North Peace Housing Foundation as a successful example of limiting the spread of COVID-19.

“They rolled out a number of measures before the provincial government came up with them,” says the Mayor.

“Things such as sanitization of the hands, they were not allowing anyone into the lodges that were not staff and I believe since the end of July, they have not had one death, or even a single COVID case.”

He adds that the rest of council does not wish to pursue a bylaw and will instead focus on educating the public on the benefits of wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible.

Councillor Orren Ford told the Trending 55 Newsroom that he is not against wearing masks but believes it needs to be a regional decision.

“I am not speaking on behalf of council, only myself, but I think this needs to be a regional decision,” says Ford.

“If Alberta Health Services makes the decision, then it would require anyone in the northern zone to wear a mask.”

The full survey document can be seen by clicking here.