COVID-19

The City of Fort Saskatchewan is monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Alberta. The City is taking the following steps and continues to revise services in these unprecedented circumstances.

Province Announces State of Public Health Emergency

The Province declared a state of Public Health Emergency on Tuesday, November 24 in response to the rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. The announcement impacts residents and businesses for the next three weeks:

  • Masks are mandatory for all indoor workplaces
  • Social gatherings in any indoor setting are prohibited
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people
  • Wedding and funeral services are limited to 10 people, and no receptions are permitted
  • Places of worship are restricted to 1/3 of normal capacity and masking is mandatory
  • Festivals and events are prohibited, including concerts

The impacts of the Provincial announcement for City programs and services are the following:

  • Lights Up! activities at the Fort Heritage Precinct planned for Friday, November 27 are cancelled. The virtual light up ceremony will continue at 6:00 pm on Friday, November 27 through the City’s Facebook account.
  • Shell Theatre is closed for three weeks.
  • Fort Heritage Precinct will continue to book tours by appointment only.
  • Apple Fitness Centre remains open for individual fitness up to 50 people capacity.
  • Harbour Pool remains open for Lane swims only.
    • All Aquafitness classes are cancelled until December 27.
    • All private lessons, group swim lessons, and swim team activities are cancelled until 2021.
  • JRC and Sportsplex arenas are closed for three weeks.
  • City meeting room spaces are only available for meetings of 10 people or less with masking and physical distancing in place.

Read more about the Enhanced Public Health Measures


The following closures remain in place until Friday, November 27:

  • All Recreational Programming: Suspended
  • DCC Arena: Temporarily Closed
  • Nutrien Soccer Field: Temporarily Closed
  • ATCO Gymnasium: Temporarily Closed
  • Aux Sable Flex Hall: Temporarily Closed
  • ATB Wellness Studio: Temporarily Closed

Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw in effect

The Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw requiring all citizens age 10 and over to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces is in effect to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This applies to all individuals age 10 and over unless they meet exemption criteria.

The Bylaw will remain in effect until rescinded by Council or until it expires.

If you have any questions or inquiries about the Bylaw, please go to fortreport.ca.

Exceptions

The requirement to wear a face covering will not apply to:

  • persons 9 years of age or younger;
  • persons who are unable to place, use, or remove a face covering without assistance;
  • persons providing care or assistance to a person with a disability where a face covering would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
  • persons sitting and consuming food or drink, in an area designated by the City for food or drink consumption, when 2m physical distancing can be maintained from others who are not part of their immediate family or cohort group;
  • persons engaging in aquatic activities, intense physical exercise, or an organized sports program;
  • persons engaging in services that require the temporary removal of a face covering (e.g., mask fit testing);
  • Persons engaging in an organized activity while on the Shell Theatre stage; and
  • Persons in areas exclusively accessed or used by City employees or the operators of a Fort Sask Transit vehicle, provided that physical barriers or physical distancing practices are implemented between any person not required to wear a face covering by operation of this exemption and any other person.
Facial Covering FAQs

If you're question cannot be found here, please send your questions, comments or feedback at fortreport.ca

Why did the City introduce and implement the Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw?

As part of the City of Fort Saskatchewan’s ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep the community safe, City Council passed Bylaw C29-20 on August 4, 2020 making it mandatory to wear facial coverings or masks, in any indoor location where the public has access. The Bylaw became active when Alberta Health Services declared 10 or more active cases in Fort Saskatchewan and will remain in effect until Council passes a resolution to rescind the Bylaw.

To be truly effective, a regional approach is required to ensure public health measures can protect individuals and the community in which they live from the spread of COVID-19. It is still critical to stay home if ill and get tested, practice good hygiene, maintain physical distancing, and cough or sneeze into your elbow.

Why did the City revise the Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw C29-20 on October 27, 2020?

After the Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw was activated, the City received a number of questions from the public about medical exceptions. The recent revision added an exemption to make medical exemptions clearer in the Bylaw.

Additionally, as the Chief Medical Officer of Health indicated the COVID-19 virus was likely to be with us into 2021, the December 31, 2020 sunset clause was removed.

Will the Bylaw automatically expire?

No, the Bylaw will remain in effect until Council passes a resolution to rescind it.

Where do I have to wear a face covering?

All persons shall wear a face covering at all times while in an indoor, enclosed, or substantially enclosed public place or in any public transportation vehicle.

The Bylaw does not extend to schools, other educational facilities, hospitals, health care facilities, child care facilities as each of these is subject to conditions of operation established by the province.

Areas exclusively accessed by the public place’s employees or operators of a public transportation vehicle provided physical barriers are in place or physical distancing practices are implemented are also exempt.

ETS & City of Edmonton

Will I need a facial covering or mask to be able to transfer onto an ETS bus or LRT?

Edmonton Bylaw 19408 makes wearing masks mandatory when riding a public vehicle. To determine the latest ETS policy, please check the City of Edmonton website.

Will the City of Edmonton provide masks on transit vehicles?

According to the City of Edmonton site, they handed out over 1 million masks as part of the provincial distribution. They are not offering additional masks at this time.

Does the Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw cover the hallways and lobbies of condo/apartment buildings?
The new Bylaw does not automatically extend to apartments and condominiums. The Bylaw reads, “All persons shall wear a Face Covering at all times while in an indoor, enclosed, or substantially enclosed Public Place or in any Public Transportation Vehicle.”
  • A condo or apartment complex is not open to the public except by invitation (ring a buzzer, or be escorted in) and would not be subject to the Bylaw.
  • If owners or tenants wish to see mandatory masks for building common areas, they can request their condo board or apartment superintendent designate or declare that masks would be mandatory in common areas of the complex.
  • The condo board or apartment superintendent would not have the authority to extend mandatory masks to include a homeowner’s or renter’s suite.

There are certain locations that the public might have access to that would fall into the category of publicly accessible and would be subject to the Bylaw (the lobby of a combined residence/commercial property or a common area that does not require resident permission to access).

We recommend wearing masks in common areas to help promote the health and safety of residents and guests.

What is an approved facial covering?

An approved face covering includes:

  • a commercially produced procedural or medical mask with ear loops or ties;
  • a commercially produced and NIOSH approved respirator or equivalent standard approved by the Government of Alberta (e.g., N-95, N-99, P-100, etc.), but excludes a mask with an exhalation valve that does not prevent the exhalation of droplets;
  • a mask or other face covering of two or more layers of tightly woven fabric, that covers the mouth, nose and chin of the person wearing it to limit the transmission of respiratory droplets.

For more information, check out CBC’s Market Place that highlights why masks work and what type of facial covering you should look for.

How would I know if my mask meets the standards above?

Make sure the mask you purchase meets the standards.  Refer to the packaging that came with your mask or facial covering and compare it to the Government of Alberta Guide for Masks; OR Follow the directions from the GOA and GOC sites to make a safe, suitable mask.

Why can’t I wear a mask with an exhalation valve?
Health Canada and other medical experts note that masks with exhalation valves do not prevent droplets from being discharged and therefore don’t offer protection from transmitting a virus.
Where can I purchase or obtain a suitable mask?
Refer to the City's COVID-19 Resources for Businesses page and look for the heading, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Supplies.  Many grocery stores, drug stores, and local department stores are now offering masks / facial coverings for sale.
Masks are expensive. What options are there?
Masks vary greatly in cost, depending on the seller and whether they are reusable or disposable.  Reusable masks may have a higher initial cost per mask than disposable masks but can be washed and reused many times.  
Can a face shield be used as a substitute or a replacement for a mask?

A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a face mask as it does not filter respiratory droplets. A face shield may provide some protection for the wearer against droplets expelled from another person, however these droplets may still be inhaled around the shield. Respiratory droplets expelled by the wearer may escape around the sides of the face shield, which therefore provides less protection to others. If you choose to wear a face shield, we recommend - if possible - to wear it in addition to a properly fitted mask. (Ottawa Public Health).

The World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of face shields as a “better than nothing” alternative to face masks if there is a shortage of non-medical masks or for populations who are not able to properly wear masks, such as individuals with a respiratory condition that prevents them from wearing a mask. The WHO makes note that face shields are inferior to face masks at preventing the spread of an infection through droplets and at a minimum should extend below the chin and cover the sides of the face. (Ottawa Public Health)

If I wear a mask, am I safe from the virus?

There is growing evidence that wearing a mask will help prevent you from COVID-19 infection or limit how sick you might become by limiting the amount of virus you are exposed to. More research is required to claim this definitively, but the evidence is mounting.

At the very least, non-medical masks work by protecting others. Think of the saying, “My mask protects you, your mask protects me”. When others wear a mask, they are helping to protect you. When you wear a mask, you are helping to protect them. As more people wear masks, fewer people will be exposed to droplets that may contain a virus.

Remember though, that if a droplet containing the virus settles on a surface and you touch it with your hand, you risk becoming infected unless you wash your hands.  

Will the City of Fort Saskatchewan provide masks?

Anyone attending a City operated property is encouraged to bring their own reusable mask or a disposable mask they’ve purchased.

Coinciding with the introduction of mandatory facial coverings, the City has a limited supply of masks available for those whose mask is soiled, damaged or defective, or if the person forgot or were unaware of mandatory facial coverings.  Supplies are limited.

If I wear a mask, do I need to stay 2m apart?

The Public Health Order issued by the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) requires all people, other than members of an immediate family or cohort, to maintain 2m physical distancing,  The CMOH has acknowledged that on occasion, it may be difficult to maintain 2m distancing and encourages all people to wear masks when in public and unable to keep 2m distance.  The CMOH has also ruled that in specific circumstances, such as organized sports, riding a bus, or when co-workers ride together in a company vehicle, people must wear a mask when they cannot maintain 2m distancing. Distancing, hand hygiene, cough/sneeze etiquette and staying home if ill are still vital steps to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Ottawa Public Health was asked the same question, “Do I still need to stay 2-metres away from others if I am wearing a mask or face covering?”  Their answer is consistent, “Yes. Wearing a mask is not an alternative to physical distancing. Every effort should be made to keep a 2-metre distance even when wearing a mask.”

Are performers (bands, dance groups, etc.) at the Shell Theatre exempt?

Yes. The City requires organizers to submit a plan demonstrating how they will maintain 2m distancing or keep participants safe. Participants will be able to perform without wearing a mask, provided they adhere to their safety plan.

Relaunch and Re-opening

Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy puts safety first while gradually reopening businesses, resuming activities and getting people back to work. 

Our City administration has developed plans for a safe re-opening for our patrons and our staff following the Chief Medical Officer of Health orders. Please follow the signage in place to understand the new protocols.

Re-opening Plans
Templates

ATCO Gym or Nutrien Soccer Field Rental

Hockey Team Template

Ice Surface/Arena Rental (User Group/Family)

Martial Arts Team Template

City Plans

Mandatory Face Coverings in City Facilities Plan

Block Party Relaunch Plan

City Hall Front Counter Re-opening Plan

Dow Centennial Centre Re-opening Plan

FCSS Group Programs Re-opening Plan

FCSS Home Support Service Relaunch Plan

FCSS Home Visit Relaunch Plan

FCSS Office Visitation Relaunch Plan

FHP Sheep Program Relaunch Plan

Harbour Pool Re-opening Plan

Kin Family Spray Park Re-opening Plan

Lights Up! Viewing Re-opening Plan

Modified Sewer Preventative Maintenance Program Re-opening Plan

Neighbourhood Connector Program Re-opening Plan

People Services Resumption of Hiring Plan

Sherritt Cultural Pavilion Shell Theatre Re-opening Plan

Summer Camps Re-opening Plan

The Bridge (Wellness Hub) Relaunch Plan

Transit Service Resumption Plan

Modified Water Meter Replacement Program Relaunch Plan

User Group Plans 

Gymnastics Club Re-opening Plan

Millar Power Skating Relaunch Plan

Rebels Lacrosse Relaunch Plan


Community Supports

Community Wellness

To help residents through this difficult time, we have added a list of activities that might help pass the time.

Check out our Community Wellness page

Community Support List

We have also compiled a list of Community Support information for residents, including information on counselling, family support, grocery delivery and pickup, and more.

Check out our Community Supports List

Essential Services

Essential services are public services, if interrupted, would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the public. These services are also necessary to the maintenance and administration of the rule of law and public security.

The intent of this list is to provide general guidance to business owners and operators. It is not meant to be exhaustive.

View the GOA Essential Services List

Financial Support

Government Supports

Anyone experiencing financial challenges is encouraged to access provincial and federal supports.

The Alberta Government is providing financial support to Albertans. Canadian workers and businesses can also access support outlined in Canada’s Economic Response Plan.

View all financial support options available to residents

Local Businesses

For our local business community, we have created a COVID19 Resources for Businesses page and will continually update it as more information becomes available.
Online Services

We recommend calling before visiting any City administration building to see if we can assist you over the phone or online.

To enhance social distancing, you can access the following City services online:

Reporting, Violations and Fines

Please visit the Alberta Health Services Enforcement Portal for details.

Resources on COVID-19
 Get your facts from reliable sites:
Subsidized Programs

Connecting Families
The Connecting Families initiative helps bridge the digital divide for Canadian families who may struggle to afford access to home Internet. Eligible Canadian families will be able to access high speed Internet service packages for $10 per month from participating Internet Service Providers.

View more information on Connecting Families

Sign up for the Connecting Families Initiative

Support Lines

Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) is opening a support line to connect with residents through the COVID-19 pandemic. If individuals have questions on how to access resources or find themselves navigating supports that are unfamiliar to them, they can call the line to discuss their needs.

The support line is 780-992-6281 and will be available starting Tuesday, April 14 during the following hours until further notice:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday — 8:00am to 4:30pm
  • Wednesday — 8:00am to 8:00pm
  • Saturday — 10:00am to 2:00pm

You can request a wellness check through the support line or by emailing FCSSinfo@fortsask.ca. If you are feeling isolated or concerned for someone who is, let us know and we will call and check in. FCSS is also available to discuss mental health and emotional wellness.

Family Violence Supports

  • Family Violence Info Line 310-1818 | 24/7 | 170+ languages
  • Chat online alberta.ca/SafetyChat | 8:00am to 8:00pm Daily
Taxes & Utilities

To provide relief to those residents and businesses that are experiencing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City Council has approved the following changes to late fees and penalties on Taxes and Utilities.

Taxes

City Council approved to extend the penalty free period for late payments of municipal property taxes due June 30, 2020.

More information on Property Tax Payments Penalties in 2020

The City is pleased to now be offering credit card payments for tax accounts through PaySimply.
 

Utilities

In an effort to support residents and businesses during the COVID-19 response, the City waived all late fees and penalties on utility bills (water, sewer and waste) for 90 days (March 23 – June 22, 2020). The repayment for all deferred utility bills will be over the next six months (July to December, 2020). Any outstanding balance as of June 22, 2020 will be divided equally over six months and added to the current months’ utility charges.

If you have any questions about your repayment plan or need further explanation please contact the Utility Billing Department at 780-992-6178 or email utilityclerk@fortsask.ca.

Sample Utility Bill with Repayment Plan

Toilet Paper and Non-Flushables

A reminder to residents: Please do not flush facial tissues, paper towel, disinfecting wipes, flushable wipes, gloves, or masks down the toilet. Flushing products other than toilet paper can cause serious clogs in your home plumbing and city infrastructure.

More information on sewer backups

We ask residents to follow our procedures for curbside collection, of recycling organics and garbage.


Additional Resources

Fort Saskatchewan COVID-19 Relaunch Report

Government Roles and Responsibilities during COVID-19

Sign up for Fort Sask Alerts