Coronavirus: Drumheller passes Dino Bucks proposal instead of mandatory mask bylaw

Click to play video: 'Drumheller uses Dinobucks to fight COVID-19' Drumheller uses Dinobucks to fight COVID-19
WATCH: It’s a unique idea about using a reward system to get people to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Carolyn Kury de Castillo reports, the town of Drumheller is proposing Dinobucks instead of a mask bylaw – Aug 4, 2020

It’s a town known for dinosaurs.

Now the talk in Drumheller is about a new currency called Dino Bucks — a novel approach to fight the novel coronavirus.

Town administration proposed that businesses hand out $5 Dino Buck vouchers to people wearing masks in their stores. The proposal passed on Tuesday and will be rolled out starting Friday, according to officials.

“Instead of being forced or told to, we are being rewarded for doing something. It might be a more positive approach to mask-wearing,” said David Dunlop, whose family owns Neighbours’ Corner Pub, on Tuesday.

Read more: Banff passes mandatory mask bylaw that includes outdoor areas

The town plans to cover the $5,000 cost of the program with businesses chipping in $0.50 of the $5 voucher to participate.

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Vouchers can be used at participating businesses.

Town of Drumheller chief administrative officer Darryl Drohomerski pictured on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Administration is proposing a Dino Bucks incentive program to encourage people to wear masks inside businesses. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

Town officials say businesses didn’t want a mandatory mask bylaw where they would have to police people in their stores.

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“We have talked to a number of businesses. Several of them are on board and very enthusiastic and others are taking a wait-and-see approach. They want to see what council decides and what other businesses are doing,” said Town of Drumheller chief administrative officer Darryl Drohomerski.

Read more: Coronavirus: Aug. 1 marks Day 1 of mandatory masks in Calgary

“Businesses don’t want to be the enforcer, so our thought process is to have the retailers see the good people in all this and reward them as opposed to having to make a phone call to say, ‘No one is wearing a mask in my store.'”

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A dino of Drumheller, Alta., pictured on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

Residents hope Dino Bucks will mean the town won’t crack down on mask-wearing.

“Hopefully, Dino Bucks will cut it,” said Drumheller resident Jim Spiers.

“I don’t think we should be fining people. Educate them. This is a good way to educate people with Dino Bucks.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Communities surrounding Calgary to hold special meetings on mandatory masks

The plan is to run the voucher program for two months.

As of Friday, the town of 9,000 people had eight COVID-19 cases, according to Alberta Health.

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