Sturgeon County council has scuttled plans to revive its mandatory mask bylaw.
As part of its consent agenda, county council voted unanimously Sept. 14 to indefinitely postpone first reading for its revived mandatory face covering bylaw.
Sturgeon County passed a mandatory mask bylaw in August 2020 in response to rising COVID-19 case numbers. That law expired Dec. 31, 2020, but was superseded by the provincial government’s mask mandate, which required masks be used in indoor spaces.
The province dropped that requirement July 1, 2021 (although it still required masks in public vehicles) but saw an explosion in COVID-19 cases come August. County council considered reviving its mask bylaw on Sept. 2 in response, but voted 4-3 to delay first reading until Sept. 14. The province restored its mandatory mask mandate for all indoor public areas on Sept. 4.
On Sept. 14, county corporate services director Jesse Sopko recommended that council indefinitely postpone first reading of the revived mask bylaw, effectively killing it. The bylaw would not take effect if it were passed, as it states that it would automatically turn off if the province issued a mandatory mask mandate, and council could reintroduce this law later if needed.
Council’s decision came as the number of active COVID-19 cases in the county hit a record high of 139 on Sept. 13. The number of Albertans in intensive care due to COVID-19 had also reached an all-time high, with some doctors warning that the province’s hospitals were on the verge of collapse.