The City of Vernon will not mandate the use of face coverings in indoor public facilities as of Nov. 3, 2020. Other local governments have recently switched to mandatory mask policies in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

The City of Vernon will not mandate the use of face coverings in indoor public facilities as of Nov. 3, 2020. Other local governments have recently switched to mandatory mask policies in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

Masks not mandatory in City of Vernon facilities for now

Neighbouring governments have started to mandate face coverings in public buildngs

While neighbouring municipal governments have begun making face masks mandatory in public facilities, the City of Vernon won’t be doing so for now.

On Monday the City of Kelowna announced face coverings are now required in all indoor city-operated facilities. The same goes for buildings operated by the Regional District of Central Okanagan, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and the City of Kamloops.

Vernon will instead stay with a mask-wearing recommendation for the time being.

“The City of Vernon does not have a mask policy for the public at this time, but we are seeing many of our residents and visitors using masks while they’re attending facilities such as City Hall or our Recreation Centre,” Communications Manager Christy Poirier said.

The city continues to follow direction from the provincial health officer, WorkSafeBC, viaSport, the BC Parks and Recreation Association and senior levels of government in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Poirier said.

READ MORE: Third layer’s the charm: Canada’s top doctor unveils new face mask recommendations

However, the city does have a policy for staff to wear masks where it’s not possible to maintain two meters of physical distancing.

“Examples of this include having more than one person traveling in a city vehicle, or if we have to be in close proximity to other people during a council meeting, a public hearing or while working in a recreation facility,” Poirier said.

Since March, the city has put in place a number of changes in facilities to help maintain physical distancing and provide protective barriers for the public and staff.

“Some of these measures include the installation of plexiglass in public reception spaces, physical distancing markers for queuing, hand sanitizer and/or hand washing stations at building entrances, and facility/room occupancy limits,” Poirier said, adding cleaning protocols and reviews of COVID-related safety practices have also been enhanced.

Poirier noted the city’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is still activated, with its team of staff members monitoring directions from health authorities. The EOC will update its risk mitigation plans as necessary.

READ MORE: Halloween party exposes Armstrong high schoolers to COVID-19

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
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