Mandatory masks?

Article content

High River Councillors discussed mandatory masks for High River at the Aug. 10 council meeting, but decided against it at the current moment in time.


Story continues below

Article content

Councillor Bruce Masterman, who is in favour of mandatory masks, began the conversation saying he had hoped the province would have taken the initiative on making masks mandatory, and not recommended, which is the province’s current position.

“I don’t care what other municipalities have done, but if we want to keep our numbers low and not go back to where we were a few months ago, I just think we need to mandate it,” he said.

Saying that, he says he is not a medical expert but he trusts doctors opinions and that local family physician Dr. Adam Vyse believes masks should be used.

“He told me to keep the economically rolling, but wear masks and that vaccines are about a year away,” said Masterman.

Councillor Masterman went on to say he wears a mask not for himself but not to spread it to other people. He also says, people shouldn’t shame each other for wearing masks or not wearing masks.

“By mandating it you are appealing to the people who aren’t sure… People want to follow what the law is.”

Currently there are 5 active cases of COVID-19 in High River.

Councillor Don Moore was also in favour of making masks mandatory.

“When I wear a mask it’s for the protection of people around me. If you have a person that doesn’t care about anyone else, they aren’t going to wear a mask.”

“I believe this a tough one (decision), but I believe everybody has to be responsible for themselves and making sure that other people are protected,” he said.

Councillor Moore went on to say how important the 2 metre distance is people as well. He also said if they decide on mandatory masks, how will this affect small businesses?


Story continues below

Article content

Councillor Carol MacMillan said this shouldn’t be on the burden of municipalities, but should be on the province.

“We’ve always stood by that municipalities have no right to muddle in peoples’ business. I think it should be up to the business’ choice whether they want this or not,” she said.

Councillor MacMillan believes it’s up to everyone to prevent spread, by keeping good hygiene and practicing social distancing.

Councillors Couey, MacMillan, Nychyk and Kinghorn all believe that it should be upon individuals if they want to wear masks or not. They also mentioned how it could create more divisiveness in the community.

They all believe that council should consider to put a motion in place that would make masks mandatory if COVID numbers in High River go up.

Councillor Masterman said if they wait too long then it could be too late.

Mayor Snodgrass then gave his opinion and said this is the most controversial issue they have had in a while.

“You’ll never convince me that masks don’t work, but I have serious concerns about doing any kind of mandatory bylaw,” he said.

The mayor went on to say it’s impossible and that Calgary’s is what he considers fake.

“It’s optical and political,” he said.

“I do believe in what Dr. Vyse said but we have boundaries as a municipal government as to what we delve into and what we do not. There is a ministry of health in this province and regardless of what you think they have to make the decision.”

“If we make businesses and people wear masks indoors that’s overreaching.”

He then said there’s no way they will be able to enforce this bylaw if put in motion.

“If we don’t enforce it, then it doesn’t exist,” said Snodgrass.

The mayor then said he scratched his head when talking about the bylaw in Calgary saying they did not deal with problematic areas like nightclubs and bars and that businesses he has visited in Calgary are not all practicing it.

He then said mask wearing is becoming more normal and that making it mandatory would create more division.

“We respect the right of businesses and individuals,” he said.

Latest National Stories


Story continues below

News Near High River

This Week in Flyers