Peace River mayor pleased with mask compliance

Nearly all people were wearing masks before new provincial restrictions imposed

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

Peace River Mayor Tom Tarpey says he is “actually pretty impressed” at the number of people wearing masks since the Town put in its mask bylaw.

The Town passed its own mask bylaw Nov. 18, before the Province expanded its mask mandate to the entire province on Dec. 8 as part of a sweeping new set of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Certainly when I go to the grocery stores there seems to be 100 per cent compliance,” Tarpey says.

Council discussed the most recent local cases of COVID-19 at the beginning of their Dec. 7 governance and priorities meeting.

Councillor Byron Schamehorn says the mask bylaw was brought in when Peace River had 43 active cases of COVID-19 and that number has since dropped to 35 cases.

“I wouldn’t attribute that decrease necessarily to the mask bylaw but I do like to think we’re holding our own, and given the compliance out there, I think the anti-science cretins on Facebook are not being listened to and are being isolated. Even the most vociferous ones,” says Tarpey.

Peace River has been host to one small protest featuring signs saying “Hugs over masks,” but other cities have seen regular protests against what they say is government overreach through public health orders.

With the first doses of the vaccination for COVID-19 arriving in Canada this week, Tanya Bell of community services says the Town has already been in contact in the past with authorities and provided information about potentially using Town facilities for distribution.

Under the rules of the latest provincial lockdown, the Baytex Energy Centre, the Peace Regional Pool, and the Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre have all closed to the public for four weeks effective Dec. 13.

The Baytex outdoor rink will still be flooded now that there is colder weather, but when it opens only households will be able to use it, and won’t be allowed to intermingle.

Peace River’s town hall will remain open to public access through the main entrance but only two groups of people will be allowed in at a time to make it possible for them to practice physical distancing. Taxi passes now have to be purchased by appointment.

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