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Richmond will implement mask policy in city buildings

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 4:55 PDT, Wed October 14, 2020

Richmond city council has approved a mask policy for civic buildings, including city hall and community centres.

Councillors voted in favour of the policy at last night’s council meeting. The idea was first presented at general purposes committee on Sept. 8 by Coun. Bill McNulty, who said at the time that he wanted Richmond to “lead and set an example” when it came to measures that could help curb the spread of the virus. 

Staff reported back to the general purposes committee on Oct. 5 with four potential mask use policies. The recommended suggestion, which was approved by council, will require people to wear masks in city buildings with a focus on education and communication. There are exemptions in place for people with disabilities, young children and people participating in physical activity.

If people do not have a mask, staff representative Serena Lusk said there would be a supply to hand out. She also clarified that staff will undergo training on how to best work with the public and how to handle exceptions to the mandate. Refusal of service will be used as a “very last resort,” Lusk said.

Staff will begin implementing the policy as soon as possible, and it will be fully in place by Nov. 1. Staff working in city buildings will also be provided with reusable masks, a consideration Lusk said fits into the current budget.

“While it’s put forward as a mask policy, and that’s what it is, I think that it’s a broader program than just mandating that every single person who comes into city hall or city facilities is going to have to wear a mask,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

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