City Council voted Monday, September 13th to implement mandatory masking for patrons in all indoor City owned and operated facilities effective September 20th. Masking for City employees was previously implemented September 7th.
The motion comes as the province recorded its highest daily case total with 449 new cases on Monday. Currently, Saskatchewan has the highest seven-day rolling average on record at 362 with hospitalizations approaching record numbers, while Battlefords Union Hospital is nearing capacity.
To date the City of North Battleford has adhered to all provincial health restrictions mandated by the Chief Medical Health Officer of Saskatchewan in the fight against COVID-19. Despite the most recent surge of the virus, the province has stated that – although they support businesses and organizations in mandating masks – they will not be implementing further health measures at this time.
Council unanimously expressed discontent with the position of the provincial government stating that public health is the responsibility of the province. It was further acknowledged that municipalities are ill-equipped to address the implementation of public health measures as they lack the necessary medical expertise and appropriate funding to effectively monitor, enforce and manage any mandated public health restrictions. While Council expressed their discontent with the province, they also identified the need to implement masks in City owned and operated facilities to ensure that the health and safety of the community is at the forefront in all of their decision making. “It is the responsible thing to do” stated Councillor Len Taylor.
While the majority of employees and visitors to City facilities will be required to wear a mask, the following exceptions were made:
- Children under 3 years of age;
- Individuals who are medically exempt and individuals who cannot place or remove masks without assistance;
- Individuals actively participating in aquatic activities, physical exercise, or playing sports;
- Seated individuals while consuming food or beverages; and
- Individuals attending private functions held in city facilities, where staff are not providing services (for example weddings, rental of rooms).
Although discussed by Council, City facilities leased to third parties such as the North Battleford Library and the North Battleford Golf and Country Club are not included in this mandate at this time. However, Council is requesting that all third-party organizations utilizing City facilities consider implementing their own masking requirements for the wellbeing of the community.
At this time, the City has not made a decision as to whether to implement a vaccine requirement for visitors of public facilities.
Vaccination is still the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect yourself from hospitalization and death. For information about vaccines and where to get your shot, please visit the Government of Saskatchewan website by clicking here.
The City thanks all residents for their cooperation as we work together to keep our community healthy and safe.
For more information:
David D’Eon, Public Relations
306 445 9155 | firstname.lastname@example.org