Why does the Town of Devon have a Temporary Mandatory Bylaw on face coverings?
The Bylaw was passed by Town of Devon Council on Nov 23, 2020 for the health, safety and welfare of those who live, work and visit Devon and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Enactment of this Bylaw means that face coverings are now required to be worn inside all public spaces within Devon including buildings and ride-for-hire services with some exceptions.
When did this Bylaw come into effect?
The Bylaw is designed to come into effect when the Town of Devon is put under a watch status by the provincial government. A watch may be implemented by the Province when there are at least 10 active COVID-19 cases and more than 50 active COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in a municipality. In Devon's case, the Bylaw went into effect on Nov. 24, 2020 and will remain in effect until Devon is taken off of a watch status for 30 consecutive days or it is rescined by Council.
Are there exceptions to the Bylaw?
There are some key exceptions to the Bylaw including:
Does this Bylaw infringe on my Charter rights?
Section 7 of the Charter states that "everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice." This right is not absolute.
It is uncertain whether requiring a person to where a mask while in an indoor public setting deprives a person of their right to "life, liberty and security of the person", but even if a court accepts that a person's s. 7 rights have been engaged, it is highly unlikely that a court would find that the mandatory masking requirement is in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. A temporary face covering bylaw is not an arbitrary, overbroad or over-reaching response to keeping the public safe and mitigating the risk of COVID-19 spread in the community.
The Bylaw is saved by Section 1 of the Charter as it allows the government to limit an individual’s charter rights on being a reasonable limit that is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. Simply put, an individual's Charter rights end when they impact on the collective rights of others. In this case, the need to protect public health and the rights of other individuals to life, liberty and security of the person outweighs the rights of a citizen to walk around in public without a mask.
What should I do if someone won’t comply with the bylaw?
It's important to keep in mind that some people are exempt from wearing a face covering or mask. First and foremost, please continue to treat each other with respect when out in the community you never know what situation another is in or who they are trying to protect.
Will residents be required to share information on a medical condition if it inhibits their ability to wear a face covering?
No. If someone is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition, they are not required to disclose their medical information, details or evidence.
Are Town staff exempt from this Bylaw while at work?
No. This Bylaw is in place for the health and safety of everyone, including our staff. While the Bylaw does not require employees who are working or meeting inside ‘employee only’ restricted areas to wear a face covering, employees meeting with the public in those restricted areas must implement physical barriers and/or appropriate physical distancing measures.
Is there a fine for not complying with the Bylaw?
Yes, there is a $100 fine for non-compliance, however this is the last route Devon's law enforcement would like to take for enforcing this Bylaw.
Will wearing a face covering prevent me from getting COVID-19?
Wearing a face covering reduces how often a person touches their mouth and nose which reduces the risk, it is mainly intended to help contain the droplets that might be emitted from the wearer during a cough or sneeze that put others at risk.
If at any time the number of active cases dips below 10, will the Bylaw remain in place?
Yes, the Bylaw remains in place until Devon is taken off of watch status for 30 consecutive days or until rescinded by Council.
What should business owners know about the bylaw if a customer refuses to wear a face covering inside their premises?
As a business owner, you have the right to refuse service and access to your business to anyone who refuses to wear a face covering and can ask them to leave the premises. However, businesses owners are not required to do so.
Should a business owner experience issues with a customer who will not comply, they’re encouraged to contact
Am I required to provide face coverings at my place of business?
Business owners may choose to sell or provide face coverings to customers.
Will a patron of my business be required to share information on a medical condition if it inhibits their ability to wear a face covering?
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Town of Devon Municipal Office
1 Columbia Avenue West
Devon, AB T9G 1A1
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