The City of Salmon Arm wants to see covered faces in indoor spaces where physical distancing may be a challenge.
On Tuesday, July 28, Mayor Alan Harrison and council released a public statement encouraging the use of face coverings or non-medical masks in all indoor public settings where it can be difficult to maintain a minimum two-metre (six-foot) distance from other people.
“Please remember that wearing a face covering or non-medical mask is an additional measure that we can all take now to protect ourselves and others, but does not replace other measures: regular hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces regularly, and maintaining a two-metre distance from others and staying home if you feel unwell,” the statement reads.
This messaging was prompted in part by an email received by council from a concerned resident. In their email, the resident stated that, as an asthma sufferer, they were disheartened to see a significant decrease from March in the use of facial coverings in Salmon Arm.
“In a recent visit to two local grocery stores, I saw no one else wearing a mask, despite the fact that it is impossible to maintain a two-metre distance in those environments…,” stated the resident. “My mask mainly protects others from me, rather than me from them.”
The resident said people are becoming more lax about health recommendations intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and that is “being reflected in the increase in the numbers of people testing positive in our province last week.”
The email concluded with a suggestion the city follow the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s lead by issuing a statement encouraging people to wear masks in indoor public spaces.
The city’s statement ends with the reminder that we all need to continue working together to prevent transmission.
“Following Dr. Bonnie Henry’s lead, please continue to be kind to each other, in helping keep our community
Salmon Arm’s statement adds to a growing chorus of local governments and municipal mayors encouraging people to use protective facial coverings in public spaces when physical distancing is difficult to practise.
In a Facebook post, Peachland Mayor Cindy Fortin said with the warm weather, as we make our way outdoors with a feeling of relief after a slow and rainy start to the summer, it’s easy to forget we’re in the middle of a serious pandemic.
“As a former nurse, trust me, it’s no fun to have your breathing and oxygen levels so compromised that you need to be on a ventilator,” said Fortin. “We were doing well in B.C., but we now have had a stark demonstration on how quickly just a small group of people can spread this deadly virus amongst the population.”