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City of Regina encouraging public to wear face masks, hints at passing bylaw

Regina city council ‘encourages’ residents to mask up
WATCH: Earlier this summer Regina rid itself of active COVID-19 cases. It’s since gone from zero to 40, making the city Saskatchewan’s current coronavirus hot spot. As Allison Bamford explains, city council is now pleading with the public to mask up.

The City of Regina is encouraging members of the public to wear face masks or face coverings when they are in indoor public spaces or when on public transportation.

On Thursday, Mayor Michael Fougere and city councilors gathered at the Cornwall Centre to plead with the public to mask up.

The mayor says the rise in active COVID-19 cases in Regina is concerning.

As of Thursday morning, there were 38 active cases in Regina, which is the highest amount of cases the area has seen since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Read more: Novel coronavirus detected or spread in 37 public Saskatchewan locations since July

“Given the rise in active cases of COVID-19 in Regina, myself and my council colleagues encourage our residents to wear a face covering or mask when they venture out of the house.”

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In the last week, cases in Regina increased and there have been warnings of potential community transfer at several businesses.

City of Regina encourages residents to wear face masks in public indoor spaces
City of Regina encourages residents to wear face masks in public indoor spaces

According to a Global News and Institute for Investigative Journalism investigation, coronavirus has been detected or spread in 37 public Saskatchewan locations since July.

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“Many businesses and organizations are making efforts to keep their spaces clean and safe,” Fougere said. “We are encouraging residents to take another measure, and that is to wear a face covering or mask. This is all in the spirit of keeping ourselves, our loved ones and our friends and neighbours safe.”

The mayor also hinted a mandatory mask or face covering bylaw will be discussed, as he called on the government of Saskatchewan to implement their own mask mandate.

Read more: Saskatchewan school divisions mandate masks, but parents say more needs to be done

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“We would prefer the province mandate masks in public places and indoors, across the province,” Fougere told Global News.

“It would make it much easier and simpler for people to understand and administer. And enforcement could be done by the province which has more weight than you’d have with municipal bylaws.”

Cities across Canada have implemented bylaws to mandate masks in public spaces, including Toronto, Edmonton, Ottawa and Calgary.

“I think what’s key to all of this is public safety,” Fougere said. “That’s the number one issue, is keeping people safe and following direction of the chief medical health officer.”

There is no mask mandate in Saskatchewan, but the province’s top doctor has recommended people wear masks in public spaces or when physical distancing is not possible.

Charlie Clark increasingly believes Saskatoon needs to pursue mask policies if province doesn’t
Charlie Clark increasingly believes Saskatoon needs to pursue mask policies if province doesn’t