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Mask mandates could continue at North Battleford facilities

Special meeting of North Battleford city council has been called for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, to decide whether to extend mask requirements by another month
Council Feb 14 1
City Manager Randy Patrick, bottom right, speaks to council on the motion to rescind proof of vax requirements at city facilities.

NORTH BATTLEFORD — Proof of vaccination has been removed at city facilities, but mask mandates could continue for a while longer.

A special meeting of city council has been called for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22, where council would decide on whether to extend the mask requirement by another month beyond the date when the provincial mandate comes to an end.

Councillor Bill Ironstand brought forward a notice of motion at Monday’s meeting on the issue. According to his motion, upon the rescinding of the existing public order mandatory requiring public masking in all indoor areas by the government of Saskatchewan, all persons accessing all city facilities would wear face masks in a manner and form as directed under the rescinded public health order starting March 1, 2022, lasting until March 31, 2022.

Council voted in favour of calling the special meeting and the motion will be debated and voted on at that time. It was explained the rationale for the special meeting was to allow time for the city to issue communications to the public that the mask mandates would continue at city facilities.

The city’s move to require masking would fill the void left by the province, which is in the process of removing its current COVID-19 public health orders.

The provincial proof of vaccination and proof of negative test requirements expired Feb. 14 and the province’s indoor masking requirement remains in place until Feb. 28, at which time it is due to expire. The masking requirements at city facilities are currently covered by the provincial order.

Earlier in the meeting, council formally rescinded its previously-passed resolutions requiring proof of vaccination or proof of negative test at city facilities, retroactive to Feb. 14. 

City Manager Randy Patrick explained the resolutions passed last fall to require proof of vaccination were based on authority the province had given to the city saying they could act. That authority under the Health Act has now been withdrawn, he said, so the city removed the requirements.

 “When the province removes them, we have to remove the requirements in place,” said Patrick.

The vote to rescind was not unanimous, however. Both Ironstand and Councillor Kent Lindgren voted against.