Days after the City of Nelson announced it will be asking anyone in city-owned buildings to wear a mask, a group of protestors gathered outside City Hall and on Baker Street on November 14. 

They carried signs questioning whether there even is a virus, among other messages, and none of the participants wore masks.

In response to those resistant to wearing masks during the pandemic, Nelson’s Mayor John Dooley said the city’s response is based on science and the direction of healthcare professionals. 

“There will always be people that will protest regardless of what it is and argue against it. But they’re putting not only themselves at risk based on the information we have, but they’re also putting the rest of our community at risk and their friends and relatives,” Mayor John Dooley said. 

The new measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 came after 10 cases of the virus were confirmed in nearby Salmo within a week. The City of Castlegar also passes a similar motion requiring masks in city-owned buildings. 

“We felt at this point of time with the so-called second wave happening — not only in British Columbia but throughout Canada and the rest of the world — that it was appropriate and prudent for us to try and protect our employees and our citizens to the best of our ability as a municipality,” Dooley said. 

He added that the rise of regional cases and those in Salmo should be a signal to Nelson to continue to be diligent in regards to precautionary measures, such as hand washing, wearing a mask and maintaining social distance. 

And as the weather gets cooler, there are new options for people without homes to access facilities. Previously, the City of Nelson received funding from the province to create short-term housing options for people without homes. A sanctioned tent city was also created behind the civic centre with access to washrooms and showers, but has since disbanded. 

Now, Dooley said the city has come to an agreement with the Salvation Army to have a temporary shelter.