Masks mandatory in Hay River and other municipalities

Town of Hay River welcome sign. Photo by Emelie Peacock/100.1 True North FM.
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Hay River is one of several towns throughout the territory introducing mandatory-mask rules in municipal run facilities.

In a council meeting on Monday, town councillors passed a temporary measure that would see masks become mandatory in town facilities as of December 14.

The Town of Hay River is using the time leading up to the implementation date to determine how rules may differ for its various facilities.

Some recreation facilities may have different rules for depending on the types of the facility. Deputy mayor Robert Bouchard noted in a council meeting on December 7, it would be difficult for people to use the walking track while wearing a mask.

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Mayor Kandis Jameson said she has noticed residents have been getting lax with following COVID-19 guidelines.

“We’re going into our ninth month and I think people are getting a false sense of security,” said Jameson. “If we make it through Christmas, I think we’re going to be doing well.”

Some facilities, like the Aurora Ford Arena, have had mandatory mask rules for a few weeks, for people sitting in the bleachers or using the changing rooms.

Masks were made mandatory in all Town of Inuvik facilities as of December 7.

“As rules for mask wearing are different within each of our facilities, please check with our front desk staff upon entering and follow all additional signage and guidelines in place at Town facilities,” a statement posted on the town’s website read.

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Masks were also made mandatory in municipal buildings in Fort Smith on November 26.

Hay River is yet to have a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. Most of the NWT’s cases have been attributed to Yellowknife, with two in Inuvik, four in Fort Smith, and one in Fort Resolution.

The territory is the only jurisdiction in North America to currently have no active cases of COVID-19. 

NWT has also had the fewest total COVID-19 cases, with 15. Yukon is the next lowest, with 57. 

The territory’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Kami Kandola has recommended several times over the past few weeks businesses assess their own physical distancing guidelines.

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