Delta council on Monday agreed to implement a new policy requiring masks to be worn in all civic facilities.
The unanimously approved policy is part of the city’s overall COVID-19 reopening plan for city hall as well as parks, recreation and culture facilities.
A report by Mayor George Harvie notes many jurisdictions across Canada have implemented mandatory face mask requirements for indoor public spaces and numerous private businesses have done the same. Other agencies serving the public have also recently introduced mandatory face mask policies, including TransLink, B.C. Transit and B.C. Ferries.
“Requiring face masks indoors in City of Delta facilities is a prudent step to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19 in Delta. To this stage of the pandemic, Delta's efforts, in conjunction with those across the region and around the province, have proven successful in limiting the spread of the virus. As the fall and winter months approach, additional precautions are likely necessary to continue to protect the community,” the report notes.
Harvie told council it’s important for Delta to demonstrate leadership as COVID-19 cases have moved upward.
City manager Sean McGill said he’s spoken to a number of his counterparts from other municipalities who are also leaning toward such a policy.
The exception to the rule includes people with an underlying medical condition or disability that inhibits the ability to wear a mask, people who are unable to place or remove a mask without assistance, young children and those with special needs that inhibit the ability to wear a mask, as well as staff who are working behind a physical barrier or within their own physically separate workspace.
Consideration will also be made for certain activities in facilities during which wearing a mask is unfeasible.
With registration for fall recreation programs already underway, staff note they are aiming to have the mask requirement become effective on Oct. 1.
To ensure staff have the equipment required to safely serve the community, sufficient cloth masks have been purchased and are being distributed, the report notes, adding facility users will be asked to bring their own.
Council on Monday also agreed to update the city’s COVID-19 policies and procedures for recreation facilities.
All facility lease and permit holders will be required to provide to Delta, prior to their resumption of services, a signed assumption of COVID-19 risk addendum to their facility use agreement.
The addendum places an obligation on holders to acknowledge and abide by Delta's safety plan as well as having their own safety plan.
In recreation facilities, many of the holders are sport organizations whose governing body must approve their safety plans.