Local governments are encouraging people to wear facemasks when visiting government offices and facilities in the Comox Valley. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE

Local governments are encouraging people to wear facemasks when visiting government offices and facilities in the Comox Valley. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE

Comox Valley governments ‘encouraging’ mask use, but will not mandate face masks

CVRD board chair says local governments will wait until the province mandates mask use

The local governments are “encouraging” the use of all masks indoors at all government buildings, but have stopped short of mandating mask use in the Comox Valley.

According to a release sent out by the Comox Valley Regional District on behalf of the Comox Valley Emergency Operations Centre, the Comox Valley local governments are advising residents masks will be encouraged in all facilities to help limit COVID-19 transmission. The addition of masks is to supplement already implemented controls within the facilities and provide an additional layer of protection.

“Residents will be encouraged to wear a mask in our facilities as an extra layer of protection,” explains EOC spokesperson and CVRD board chair Jesse Ketler. “Every measure we put in place to protect our community helps to minimize COVID-19 transmission. We appreciate everyone’s respect and co-operation as we move into the coming weeks and months.”

When contacted by The Record, Ketler said that the CVRD will not impose a mandate until directed to do so by Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We are trying to follow the provincial health officer, and if they are not mandating it, we are not mandating it,” said Ketler. “There are other circumstances where masks can’t be [worn] because of other health issues and things like that, so we are trying to avoid that problem. So we are strongly encouraging, as opposed to mandating it, and causing issues for those who can’t wear masks.”

Masks will be encouraged within all open local government facilities including recreation centres.

Masks will not be required to be worn while participating in physical activities on the ice, in the fitness centre, in the pool or during physical activity. Masks are encouraged to be worn while entering and exiting all centres and in areas such as hallways and common areas.

Ketler said that while mask-wearing has always been encouraged, she said this latest release is fortifying earlier recommendations.

“I think it is more strongly encouraged,” she said. “It has always been an added layer, but we are just trying to strengthen that [message].”

She added that all staff at CVRD offices and facilities are required to wear masks.

Meanwhile, Courtenay council approved a resolution from Doug Hillian to strongly encourage residents to wear face masks in indoor public spaces, as per provincial health guidelines.

“I think we’re all alarmed to see the rising case numbers related to COVID-19,” Hillian said at the Nov. 2 meeting. “While they’re primarily in the Fraser Health region, and we can still take some relief from the low numbers on Vancouver Island, numbers of citizens are concerned that we need to do all that is possible to prevent spread in our community, and ensure that Vancouver Island and our community in particular is able to maintain the low numbers that we’ve been able to, to date.”

To learn more about what specific facilities are doing in your community, please visit your local government website.

— with a file from Scott Stanfield

ALSO: Canada’s top doctor unveils new face mask recommendations


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