COVID-19 Information for Whitecourt

 

With novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases being confirmed in Alberta, the Town wants to ensure the public has access to updated information about this virus.  COVID-19 information and updates are publicly available on the Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services websites: 

What is the Town of Whitecourt doing?

The Town of Whitecourt continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic across Alberta, and has adjusted operations per the direction and recommendation of the Province of Alberta.  On March 17, 2020, the Town of Whitecourt activated its Emergency Management Plan and partially activated Whitecourt’s Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC).  The ECC activation allows Town management to provide community responses that support Alberta Health recommendations, and protects and assists our residents and staff during this event.  Whitecourt has a continuity plan in place to ensure essential services continue in our community uninterrupted. 

As this is an evolving situation the Town’s knowledge of COVID-19 continues to grow as new information becomes available, and any new evidence will inform us on any future actions.  The public is encouraged to monitor the Town’s website and Facebook page for any future updates regarding COVID-19.

Provincial Restrictions

Due to increasing COVID-19 caseloads, the Government of Alberta has implemented stronger public health measures for the province.  

Gathering Restrictions

All indoor social gatherings – public and private – are prohibited. This does not apply to service visits from caregivers, health or child care providers and co-parenting arrangements. Close contacts are limited to household members only. Individuals who live alone may have the same two non-household close contacts for the duration of this restriction.

Mandatory Mask Requirements

Effectively immediately, the Government of Alberta has implemented a requirement for masks in all indoor public places and workplaces across the province.  While Whitecourt’s Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw 1560 remains in effect, the Provincial restrictions supersede some requirements of the bylaw.  Masks are mandatory in all:

  • Indoor public places;
  • Places of worship;
  • Public Vehicles;
  • Indoor workplaces and facilities outside the home except:
    • when working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle,
    • rental accommodations used solely for the purposes of a private residence,
    • farm operations.

The following exemptions apply throughout Alberta to a person attending an indoor public place if the person:

  • is a child under two years of age;
  • is unable to place, use or remove a face mask without assistance;
  • is unable to wear a face mask due to a mental or physical concern or limitation;
  • is consuming food or drink;
  • is engaging in physical exercise;
  • is providing or receiving care or assistance where a face mask would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
  • is alone at a workstation and separated by at least 2 metres distance from all other persons;
  • is the subject of a workplace hazard assessment in which it is determined that the person’s safety will be at risk if the person wears a mask while working;
  • is separated from every other person by a physical barrier that prevents droplet transmission; or
  • is a person who needs to temporarily remove their face mask while in the public place for the purposes of:
    • receiving a service that requires the temporary removal of their face mask;
    • an emergency or medical purpose; or
    • establishing their identity.

Mandatory Business and Service Restrictions

Some businesses can remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.  To calculate occupancy limits please refer to the Province’s Reduced Capacity and Occupant Loads guidance document.  

For sector specific details on these stronger public health measures visit the Province’s website.  

Financial support programs are available to help people, families and businesses facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.  For more information, refer to Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan.

As announced by the Province,  the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant is available for businesses, co-ops, and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 to offset a portion of their costs.

Outdoor recreation areas remain open for public use

Residents are encouraged to stay active, and are reminded that outdoor recreation spaces, including parks, public spaces, playgrounds, trails, and Toboggan Hill, remain open.  Use at all mentioned facilities is permitted by members of the same household if physical distancing is maintained from other people at all times.   As of January 18, 2021, social gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted, provided individuals practice physical distancing.

Help prevent the spread

Community members are asked to continue to be vigilant in following preventative health practices, including physical distancing, cohorting, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and increased cleaning of surfaces.  For tips on how you can protect yourself and others visit www.alberta.ca/prevent-the-spread.aspx.

COVID-19 information and updates are publicly available on the Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services websites:

Information for Businesses on Enhanced Health Restrictions

As announced by the Government of Alberta on January 14, 2021, changes to public health restrictions will come into effect next week for personal services, and capacity limits on outdoor social gatherings and funerals.

Changes to Public Health Restrictions

The Province has introduced a 4-step "Path Forward", that will guide re-opening of services and businesses throughout Alberta.  For details please visit https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx#Step1

The following mandatory restrictions will remain in place until further notice, including:

  • All indoor social gatherings – public and private – are prohibited.
  • Province-wide mandatory indoor public masking requirement.
  • Retail restrictions (on occupancy limits) 
  • Mandatory work from home measures.

All Albertans, businesses, organizations and service providers must continue to follow existing health measures: https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx

Mandatory Mask Requirements

Effectively immediately, the Government of Alberta has implemented a requirement for masks in all indoor public places and workplaces across the province.  While Whitecourt’s Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw 1560 remains in effect, the Provincial restrictions supersede some requirements of the bylaw.  Masks are mandatory in all:

  • Indoor public places;
  • Places of worship;
  • Public Vehicles;
  • Indoor workplaces and facilities outside the home except:
  • when working alone in an office or a safely distanced cubicle,
  • rental accommodations used solely for the purposes of a private residence,
  • farm operations.

The following exemptions apply throughout Alberta to a person attending an indoor public place if the person:

  • is a child under two years of age;
  • is unable to place, use or remove a face mask without assistance;
  • is unable to wear a face mask due to a mental or physical concern or limitation;
  • is consuming food or drink;
  • is engaging in physical exercise;
  • is providing or receiving care or assistance where a face mask would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
  • is alone at a workstation and separated by at least 2 metres distance from all other persons;
  • is the subject of a workplace hazard assessment in which it is determined that the person’s safety will be at risk if the person wears a mask while working;
  • is separated from every other person by a physical barrier that prevents droplet transmission; or
  • is a person who needs to temporarily remove their face mask while in the public place for the purposes of:
  • receiving a service that requires the temporary removal of their face mask;
  • an emergency or medical purpose; or
  • establishing their identity.

Stronger Public Health Measures

One of the mandatory business restrictions is that some businesses can remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.  To calculate occupancy limits please refer to the Province’s Reduced Capacity and Occupant Loads guidance document.

Facility Closures and Service Changes

The nature of services offered in some Town facilities result in an inability to enforce recommended social distancing practices. Additionally, there are limited staffing numbers, making service maintenance challenging if illness were to spread.    Facility closures identified below will remain in effect until further notice.

Town Office

  • Due to COVID-19 health protocols, you may experience longer wait times than usual if attending the office in person for bill payments, permits and general inquiries.  Access to the Town Office will be limited to 15% of occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code for the building.
  • For community members that choose to access the facility, the following health measures will be implemented:
    • All those entering the building will be asked to pre-screen themselves for symptoms, and are asked to stay home if feeling unwell, are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, or have recently travelled internationally in the last 14 days (Albertans are legally required to isolate for 14 days if they returned to or entered Alberta from outside Canada or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19).  Hand sanitizer will be provided upon entering the facility, and directional signs and markers will be in place that public members are asked to follow.  All services and appointments will take place at a front desk, and public members are asked to follow social distancing protocols.
    • Occupancy into the building will be limited; public members are advised that wait times may be longer than normal for in-person services.  Should you require an appointment with a specific staff member, you are encouraged to book an appointment as those with appointments will receive first priority.
    • The Office will be open normal hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. ​

Allan & Jean Millar Centre

The Energy Transfer Canada Aquatic Centre and JR's Pressure Services Fieldhouse at the Allan & Jean Millar Centre are open by appointment only.  The Pembina Fitness Centre is closed per provincial COVID-19 public health restrictions until further notice.  As access to the facility remains limited, all memberships will remain on hold at this time.  Temporary hours of operation for the facility are as follows:

  • Monday/Wednesday/Friday: 5:45am – 6:00pm
  • Tuesday/Thursday: 8:30am – 8:00pm
  • Saturday: 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Sunday: Closed

Drop-ins at the facility will not be allowed at this time. 

General Facility Guidelines:

  • Drop-ins at the facility will not be allowed at this time.
  • Please call Guest Services at 780-778-3637 to book your space.
    • Swim times will be billed $15 per person per hour.  The daily admission fee will be the cost for a one-hour session at the Fieldhouse.
    • Wristbands designated for the hour long session will be provided at Guest Services upon arrival and check-in.
    • Guests can book their session up to one week in advance.
    • Guests can book one session per day at this time.
    • Payment for sessions will be required at the time of booking.
    • Bookings for one hour sessions are non-refundable.

JR’s Pressure Service Fieldhouse Guidelines:

  • Available for one hour bookings for individuals or household members. 
  • The daily admission fee will be the cost for a one-hour session (per person).
  • Available for one-on-on training with a certified trainer/coach and/or youth sport group (10 individuals max) led by a certified trainer/coach provided at least 3-metres of distance is maintained between all participants for the duration of the practice.

Carlan Services Community Resource Centre

  • Limited public access.
  • Open to provide Whitecourt Food Bank services.  Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  Contact the Food Bank at 780-778-2341.
  • The Whitecourt Eary Learning and Childcare Centre is open with limited access.  Contact the Centre at 780-706-3295.

Forest Interpretive Centre

  • The Forest Interpretive Centre will be closed to the public until further notice.  The facility will only be open for scheduled support service programs.

Parks & Pathways

  • Park areas throughout Whitecourt remain open, including local trails and pathways.  Please follow social and physical distancing practices as recommended by the Province of Alberta. 

Playground Structures

  • Residents are encouraged to utilize the playground in their immediate neighbourhood, and physical distancing protocols of 2-metres must be maintained when using equipment.  Users are responsible for bringing and using their own sanitizers to sanitize equipment and hands prior to and after use, and are recommended to wash hands with soap and water when returning home.

Public Works Shop

  • Open for staff; closed to the public.
  • Call 780-778-2705 to speak with a member of the Infrastructure Services Department.

RCMP 

  • For all emergencies call 9-1-1.  Closed tot he public.  Prior to visiting the RCMP Detachment please call 780-778-5900 to find out if your service request can be conducted via telephone.

rotary park

  • Open spaces, trails, and the playground at Rotary Park are open for public use.  
  • Physical distancing protocols of 2-metres must be maintained when using equipment.  Users are responsible for bringing and using their own sanitizers to sanitize equipment and hands prior to and after use, and are recommended to wash hands with soap and water when returning home. 
  • When parking your vehicle at Rotary Park please leave an empty stall between parked  cars to meet physical distancing requirements.

Scott Safety Centre

  • The Scott Safety Centre is closed to the general public until further notice.
  • The arenas at the Scott Safety Centre will be available for private rentals by minor sports, school athletic groups and households.  For information on rates and hours, please contact 780-778-3637.

Transfer Station

  • Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Whitecourt Fire Hall

  • Open to staff; closed to the public.
  • Special measures are being taken to ensure the continuation of emergency response.  There is no change in the level of service provided to the community.

Whitecourt Public Library

Whitecourt Regional Landfill

  • Open Monday to Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  (Drop offs must be at the landfill at least 15 minutes prior to closure to allow time for unloading.)

Whitecourt Transit

  • For hours of service, click here.  
  • Masks or face coverings are required to use Whitecourt Public Transit services.  Drivers will require riders to have a mask or face covering (scarf, bandana) on prior to entering the bus.  Per provincial guidelines, children 2 and under are not required to wear face coverings.  For more information on mask use, please visit the Government of Alberta's website.
  • Updates on the status of the transit service will continue to be posted on TransLoc as well as the Town of Whitecourt’s Facebook page and at website at www.whitecourt.ca.   

Information Links

Business Resources - Economic Support and Recovery

There are a number of new and existing resources that are available to local businesses that will provide support at this time.  Whitecourt, the Whitecourt & District Chamber of Commerce, and Community Futures Yellowhead East have compiled information links on this page to provide easy access to our community.  To access the resources click here.

COVID-19 Updates for Whitecourt

It's a priority of the Town of Whitecourt to keep the community informed on the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our community. 

How you can help

To protect yourself and others:

  • practice physical distancing
  • wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
  • avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
  • avoid travel outside Canada
  • watch for COVID-19 symptoms: cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat

When out in public, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other. You do not need to remain indoors, but you do need to avoid being in close contact with people.  This means making changes in your everyday routines to minimize close contact with others, including:

  • Keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others when going out for groceries, and other essential needs,
  • Limit the number of times you leave your home for errands,
  • Try to shop at less busy times,
  • Wash or sanitize your hands after touching communal surfaces.

Physical distancing is different than self-isolation.  Albertans are legally required to self-isolate for:

  • 14 days if you returned from international travel or are a close contact of a person with COVID-19, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of symptoms, should they occur.
  • 10 days if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat that is not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition.

If you are self-isolating:

  • Stay at home – do not attend work, social events or any other public gatherings.
  • Avoid close contact with other people, including household members but especially seniors and people with chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.
  • Don’t take public transportation, like buses, taxis or ride sharing.
  • Watch for symptoms.

For more information visit www.alberta.ca/self-isolation.aspx.

Enforcement of provincial health measures

Through the amendments to the Procedures Regulation under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, community peace officers, in addition to police, will be able to issue tickets to enforce COVID-19 public health order.

  • Fines administered through tickets for violating an order are $1,000 per occurrence
  • Courts will also have increased powers to administer fines of up to $100,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a subsequent offence for more serious violations.

The following public health orders subject to fines for violation include:

  • Any individual who has travelled outside of Canada must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from their return, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
  • Any individual who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of their symptoms, or until the symptoms resolve, whichever is longer.  Symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or a sore throat.
  • Any individual who has been identified by Alberta Health Services as a close contact of a person(s) with COVID-10 must go into mandatory self-isolation for 14 days from the date of last having been exposed to COVID-19, plus an additional 10 days from the onset of any symptoms should they occur, whichever is longer.
  • Mass gatherings must be limited to no more than 50 attendees.
  • Access to public recreational facilities, private entertainment facilities, bars and nightclubs is prohibited.
  • Visitation to long-term care and other continuing care facilities is limited to essential visitors only.

Albertans who witness/are aware of individuals who are not following self-isolation orders are to:

  • Take proper precautions and, if possible, distance yourself from the individual to limit your risk of exposure if they have symptoms.
  • If possible, remind the person that not following public health orders is against the law and puts people at risk.
  • Notify local law enforcement immediately of any individuals who are not following the self-isolation orders by submitting a complaint online at https://ephisahs.microsoftcrmportals.com/create-case/.

The Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services are working with local enforcement agencies to manage complaints.

 

Family & Community Supports and Services

It is important to know where you can turn if you or someone you know is experiencing family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Help is available to Albertans dealing with family violence, partner abuse, sexual violence, child abuse, elder abuse, pet abuse, or financial abuse.

We all play a role in learning where to turn to for help. Please consider sharing these supports among your personal and professional networks.

  • Read and share – Family violence during COVID-19 info sheet
  • In case of emergency, call 911. Police and emergency responders will continue to respond throughout the pandemic, even to those in quarantine. 
  • Family Violence Info Line
    • anonymous support from trained staff:
      • Call 310-1818 | 24/7 | 170+ languages
      • Chat online alberta.ca/SafetyChat | 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily | English
    • Other supports and services for those experiencing family violence

provincial manDATORY MASKING – Effective Immediately

⚠️ The mandatory indoor public masking requirement will be extended province-wide.

⚠️ Applies to all indoor workplaces and facilities outside the home. Applies to employees, visitors and the general public. Farm operations are excluded.

Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw

Whitecourt Town Council adopted Bylaw 1560 - Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw at a Special Meeting of Council on Monday, November 16.  Whitecourt was removed from the “watch” list by Alberta Health Services on November 21, 2020, and as such the bylaw remains in effect for a period of 30 days following the removal of the Provincial “watch” status.  As per the bylaw, face coverings are now mandatory in all indoor, enclosed public spaces, as well as within public vehicles.

The practice of wearing a face covering or mask will complement other prevention and public health measures that the Town of Whitecourt has been promoting to the community, including: physical distancing, cohorting, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and increased cleaning of surfaces.

Information for Local Businesses

As a Whitecourt business owner or operator you have an important role to play as part of the Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw 1560.

Now that the bylaw is in effect, it will be mandatory for members of the public who are not exempt to wear a face covering or mask in all indoor, enclosed, or substantially enclosed public places in your business. This applies to publicly accessible storefronts and vehicles that transport members of the public for a fee.

You are encouraged to print and display this poster in your business to inform your customers about the bylaw. It has been created in standard 8.5” x 11”  and 11" x 17" poster format  so it can be easily printed and displayed at the entrance(s) to your business.

Poster Version 1:

Poster Version 2:

1   How is enforcement in businesses possible for people who have exceptions?

Employers, operators or proprietors are not expected to enforce this bylaw. The bylaw was drafted to minimize the chance of conflict and provide a safe environment for all.

Those exempt will not be required to provide proof of exemption.

2   What is considered a face covering?

In the bylaw, a “face covering” means a mask or other face covering that covers the mouth, nose and chin ensuring a barrier that limits the transmission of infectious respiratory droplets.

3   Does this bylaw apply to every area of my business?

The bylaw applies to areas that are accessible to the public. However, the Province of Alberta has implemented additional new voluntary public health measures , including wearing non-medical face coverings or masks in all indoor work settings, except when alone in work spaces such as offices or cubicles where you can be safely distanced from others or an appropriate barrier is in place.

4   What are the exemptions?

The following exceptions are identified in bylaw:

  • Children that are 5 years old and younger;
  • People unable to wear a face covering due to a mental or physical concern or limitation, or protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act;
  • People consuming food or drink in designated seating areas or as part of religious or spiritual ceremony;
  • People engaged in water activities or physical exercise;
  • People providing care or assistance to a person with a disability where a face covering would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
  • People engaging in services that require the temporary removal of a face covering;
  • Areas exclusively accessed or used by the Public Place’s employees or a Public Vehicle operator, provided that physical barriers or physical distancing practices are implemented between any person not required to wear a face covering by operation of this exception and any other person.

This bylaw does not apply to the following places: schools, post secondary institutions, daycares and childcare centres governed by the Child Care Licensing Act, hospitals and health care facilities.  For more information, please refer to Bylaw 1560.

5   Does this bylaw apply to gym/sports centre/fitness studios in Whitecourt?

People actively engaging in athletic or fitness activities in gyms, sports centres and fitness studios would be exempt from the bylaw. However, if the facility is accessible to the public, people who are not engaging in such activities would have to wear a face covering.

6   How long will the bylaw be in effect?

The bylaw will remain active for a period of 30 days following the removal of the Provincial watch status.

7   What should I do if someone won’t comply with the bylaw?

It's important to keep in mind that some people are exempt from wearing a face covering or mask. If they are not exempt and are refusing to comply, please ask them to leave your business. If the situation escalates, please contact the Town of Whitecourt at 780-778-2273 or administration@whitecourt.ca to respond.

8   What if a customer doesn't want to wear a mask?

It's up to your businesss to decide if you wish to enforce mask wearing in your premises.  As part of the community effort, we encourage you to help educate on the requirement for masks if you choose.  You and your employer are not expected to enforce th bylaw or to have negative interactions with customer.

We understand that not everyone is able to wear a mask or face covering, and Bylaw 1560 includes a number of exemptions for those who may not be able to wear a mask for a variety of reasons.  We ask everyone to please BE KIND to those unable to do so.

Information for Community Members

Wearing a homemade or non-medical face covering or mask has been shown to be an important and effective tool in the prevention of COVID-19 and is encouraged by the Government of Alberta  and the Government of Canada . It is strongly recommended to wear face coverings or masks in indoor public spaces, especially when it’s difficult to maintain physical distancing of two metres at all times.

Wearing a face covering or mask is about protecting those around you, as it can shield them from being exposed to your germs. It also helps to support our local businesses by keeping them and their employees safe.

Keep in mind that wearing a face covering or mask should complement – not replace – other prevention and public health measures, including physical distancing, cohorting, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and increased cleaning of surfaces.

The Government of Alberta provides guidelines on how to properly use  a mask, how to care for your cloth masks , and how to make or purchase  your own mask.

You can also refer to this list of Do’s and Dont's  from the Government of Canada.

1   Why did the Town decide to implement a Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw?

The practice of wearing a face covering or mask will complement other prevention and public health measures that the Town of Whitecourt has been promoting to the community, including: physical distancing, cohorting, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and increased cleaning of surfaces.

The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Alberta Health all indicate that the highest risk activities are those that take place indoors and in spaces where people spend extended periods of time in close proximity with poor air circulation. We are beginning to see additional challenges as cooler weather limits our ability to gather and engage in activities outside.

2   What is a face covering?

In the Whitecourt Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw, a “face covering” means a mask or other face covering that covers the mouth, nose and chin ensuring a barrier that limits the transmission of infectious respiratory droplets.

3   What about a face shield?

Face shields are not proven to be effective at protecting others from the wearer’s respiratory droplets. The Government of Alberta  recommends face shields in the health care industry in addition to a face mask, to protect the eyes as well as the mouth and nose. Outside of health care, face shields are not an effective form of protection and are not considered a face covering under the Bylaw 1560. This is consistent with the bylaws of other municipalities, such as Spruce Grove, Edmonton and Leduc.

4   Are there any exceptions?

The following exceptions – both people and places – are identified in the City’s Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw:

  • Children 5 years old and younger;
  • People unable to wear a face covering due to a mental or physical concern or limitation, or protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act;
  • People consuming food or drink in designated seating areas or as part of religious or spiritual ceremony;
  • People engaged in water activities or physical exercise;
  • People providing care or assistance to a person with a disability where a face covering would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
  • People engaging in services that require the temporary removal of a face covering;
  • Areas exclusively accessed or used by the Public Place’s employees or a Public Vehicle operator, provided that physical barriers or physical distancing practices are implemented between any person not required to wear a face covering by operation of this exception and any other person. 

Remember that some people may be unable to wear a mask for various reasons, which may not be obvious or visible to the general public. Please refrain from making assumptions in these situations and don't judge others for not wearing a mask.

5   How long will the bylaw be in effect?

The bylaw will remain active for a period of 30 days following the removal of the Provincial watch status.

6   How are you enforcing the bylaw?

Municipal Bylaw and Peace Officers, as well as RCMP members, may issue a violation ticket of not less than $100 to anyone who has contravened the bylaw. 

7   What should I do if someone won’t comply with the bylaw?

It's important to keep in mind that some people are exempt from wearing a face covering or mask. If you are concerned with non-compliance or have a question about the bylaw, please contact the Town of Whitecourt Administration Office at 780-778-2273 or administration@whitecourt.ca.

8   What are the rules for leaders/speakers in places of worship?

If the area where a person is leading worship is separated from the general public, either by physical distance or physical barriers, that person is permitted to remove their face covering to speak. However, if these physical controls are not in place, face coverings are required. Cleaning/disinfection between speakers is recommended. Attendees are required to wear face coverings.

9   What are the rules in apartments and condos?

The general rule is, if the public does not have access to it, it will be exempt under the bylaw. If the shared dwelling building has a locked door and only tenants and guests can enter, then masks are not required in shared spaces.  However, if the building is open and anyone can walk in, then these spaces would be considered public so masks would be required. In either case, condo boards and landlords may have their own rules and should be consulted for information specific to your residence.

10   I’ve experienced an uncomfortable circumstance or was denied a service for not wearing a mask and I have a medical exemption. What can I do?

It is important to note that proof is not required for someone that has an exception, as we wanted to ensure the bylaw was easy for citizens and business owners to follow. Businesses are not required to deny anyone entry under the bylaw, but can enact their own policies in their establishments.

Community members are encouraged to ask if someone is unable to wear a face covering, before making assumptions.  Administration informed both the public and businesses of the temporary face coverings bylaw requirements and emphasized exemptions, so businesses understand that they are not obligated to enforce the bylaw.