City councillors voted to table a motion calling for a mandatory masks bylaw in Regina with fines and enforcement from the City, instead opting for an education-based approach and encouragement to follow provincial guidelines.
Discussion around mandatory masks in the City of Regina began with the acknowledgment that some of the statistics cited in the initial motion are out of date, such as Regina’s previous high number of cases compared to one active case on Monday.
The motion also stated violators of the bylaw would start being fined for two weeks after the bylaw was passed, something several councillors were not in favour of.
Mayor Michael Fougere eventually moved to table the original motion, which council agreed to with a 6-4 vote.
"Most of council, not all, most of council said we don't need to have a mandatory mask where you enforce it and have fines," Fougere said following the meeting. "Voluntarily doing this is the way to go, and continue to educate people to say you should be wearing a mask at all times when you go indoors and you can't maintain that social distance, put a mask on."
The approach is not sitting well with Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine, professor of community health and epidemiology with the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine.
“The education approach is the current approach,” Muhajarine told CTV News. “We have to make policy not based on what is actually happening today, what the case count is today, the active number of cases today, but we have to make policies in expectation of what might be.”
A report will still come from administration on what mandatory masking could like in Regina if and when such a policy becomes necessary.
Councillors will return to chambers on Wednesday afternoon for a Special Council Meeting to address the controversial Body Rub Establishment Licensing Program, when 19 delegations are expected to speak on the topic.