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Okotoks council concerned over masking complaints to staff

Councillor says talk to her, not to staff which had nothing to do with mask bylaw
Florence Christophers 98
Okotoks Town Coun. Florence Christophers is asking residents to direct mask bylaw concerns to council. (Brent Calver, Western Wheel)

Okotoks councillors didn’t cover-up their disfavour for the abuse town employees are facing due to recent mask bylaws.

Okotoks CAO Elaine Vincent told council at its Sept. 14 meeting a small percentage of residents have complained to staff at municipal facilities about having to wear masks, as required by a bylaw passed on Aug. 17.

“Mandatory masking in public facilities is still a controversial item within the community and we continue to receive feedback both for and against that process,” Vincent said.

Councillor Florence Christophers said if there is a concern, come to her, not to staff employees who had nothing to do with the passing of the bylaw.

“As your local town councillor, bring the heat to me, don’t take it out on front staff,” Christophers said.

“Telling staff to "F"-off, just the hostility.

“Hey they are just doing their job. If you are concerned about this bylaw and the decisions being made at this council table, e-mail us, call us.”

She said how people treat one another is an important part of being a community.

Council gave third reading at its Aug. 17 meeting to require masks in all Town-owned facilities effective Aug. 23. Those facilities include the Okotoks Recreation Centre, Foothills Centennial Centre, Pason Centennial Arenas, the Okotoks Municipal Building and Operations Centre, and the Eco Centre. Masks are also mandatory on Okotoks Transit.

In addition, Okotoks council passed a second bylaw to implement mandatory masking in all
public indoor facilities in town should the number of active COVID-19 cases reach the watch point, based on the population of Okotoks, which is 15. The bylaw would remain in effect until there are fewer than 15 cases in town for 30 consecutive days.

Vincent said at council’s Sept. 14 meeting Okotoks was at nine cases as of that day.

“There is certainly a lot of uncertainty about when and if mandatory masking will be triggered for all indoor facilities,” she said. “The bylaw reads once we hit 15 cases that would be the case. I believe today we are sitting at nine cases.

“If that does get triggered, I can tell you there will be significant time and energy of staff through the education process for the entire community.”

(There were 10 cases in Okotoks as of the morning of Sept. 16.)  For the government information page click here.

For updated information, follow our COVID-19 special section for the latest local and national news on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as resources, FAQs and more.

 

 




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Bruce Campbell

About the Author: Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell is the editor for Okotokstoday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper. He is a graduate of Mount Royal College journalism program, 1991. For story tips contact bcampbell@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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