Lethbridge County is joining the City of Lethbridge, Town of Taber, and other southern Alberta communities when it comes to a face covering bylaw.

During a special meeting on Friday (Dec. 4), Lethbridge County Council approved a Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

“We are concerned with the continuing rise in cases in and around Lethbridge County,” says Reeve Lorne Hickey.

Bylaw 20-024 – Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings is effective immediately and requires that masks or face coverings be worn in all indoor, enclosed, or substantially enclosed public places and public vehicles within Lethbridge County.

Violations of the bylaw are subject to a $100 fine.  Lethbridge County’s intent is to encourage mask use and rely on public cooperation rather than enforcement.

“Council feels that by enacting this temporary face coverings bylaw we can enhance our efforts to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Regardless of your personal opinions about masking, please let’s treat each other with respect and kindness. Have patience with businesses and workers as they adjust to the bylaw and be courteous to each other. This is a difficult time for everyone, and we must remember that we are all in this fight together against COVID-19,” said Reeve Lorne Hickey in a news release.

Exceptions to the new masking bylaw in Lethbridge County include children under 10 or people with a medical condition or disability which inhibits their ability to safely wear a mask.

Meanwhile, the Town of Coaldale decided Thursday not to institute a bylaw. This was the second time in a month the issue has been discussed.

The Town says it will continue to instead emphasize current public health measures and guidelines as provided by Alberta Health.