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Mandatory mask-wearing effective immediately at city public facilities

Facial masks are mandatory to be worn, effectively immediately, in all public indoor City-operated facilities in Prince Rupert. The requirement has been implemented to protect community health and safety the City of Prince Rupert said, in a media release on Oct. 29.

All individuals entering a City-operated building are required to wear a face mask while inside, while accessing programs/services, and conducting business or providing services while in the buildings. Members of the public should bring their own face masks, however, one will be provided if necessary.

“Wearing a face mask is an additional measure we can take to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and keep one another safe. This means that, with some exceptions, an individual’s face mask must cover the nose, mouth, and chin without gapping. Face shields alone are not acceptable,” the release stated.

“Staff will be informing individuals who are not wearing a face mask that they are required to wear one. Our primary focus is on education, and staff will do what they can to find a workable solution.”

Wearing a mask is not enough by itself and should be used with additional safety measures such as physical distancing, regular hand washing, staying home when feeling unwell and all other COVID-19 health guidelines, the City said.

“Even while wearing a mask, these important steps should be taken, and every effort should be made to maintain a two-metre (6 ft) distance from others, and any/all other safety protocols implemented in City-operated buildings must also still be followed.”

After attending a city-operated facility, masks should be disposed of into a waste bin. The City wants residents to ensure hands are washed using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after removing any face mask.

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“It is vital that individuals are not stigmatized or judged if (people) are unable to wear a face mask due to a listed exemption. We ask for patience and kindness as everyone adjusts and navigates through these uncertain times,” the statement said. “Those who are not able to wear a face mask, for medical or other reasons, are asked to maintain a safe distance for the protection of themselves and those around them.”

Exemptions from wearing a face mask while inside City-operated buildings include individuals:

  • Five years and under
  • With a sensory disability
  • With a cognitive disability
  • With a physical disability
  • With a chronic health condition that is respiratory in nature
  • Who are deaf or hard of hearing who may face increased communication challenges by wearing a mask
  • Who are unable to place or remove a face mask without assistance

Some programs and physical activities which are considered “mask optional activities held in designated spaces, are exempt from the mask requirement and may include: fitness centres and weight rooms; swimming and aquatic programs; ice skating and indoor sports.

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Individuals participating in the exempt physical activities listed above should wear a face mask when going to and from the designated activity. Individuals are still welcome to choose to wear a face mask while participating in activities that have been designated as “mask optional.”

“Organizations that have included face masks as part of their safe return to play plans are asked to continue in accordance with those stipulations,”

Individuals are expected to make good personal decisions regarding the use of face masks. Staff will be informing individuals who are not wearing a face mask that they are required to wear one. Our primary focus is on education, and staff will do what they can to find a workable solution.

“All those attending City facilities are expected to behave socially responsibly, and in a way that is respectful to your fellow patrons and City staff.”

K-J Millar | Journalist
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