Whether Cochrane will institute mandatory face masks in indoor public spaces will be discussed by town council at a special meeting on July 29.

The issue is currently being examined by the town's emergency centre. It includes reviewing the City of Calgary bylaw.

Until council makes a decision, Mayor Jeff Genung is asking residents to wear them voluntarily.

"I'm hoping people will voluntarily put them on until we as a council can decide one way or the other." 

"If you have a mask, put it in your pocket, take it with you wherever you go, and wear it when you're in confined space, and can't physical distance to keep the risk of spread even lower."

Genung says he's been inundated with emails, text and social media messages from residents who believe masks should mandatory, and those who want it to remain voluntary.

"It's a dead heat of almost 50-50, which makes it most difficult," says Genung.

He says, in the end, the science will guide town officials to determine which course of action will be taken.

With Calgary making face masks mandatory as of Aug. 1, many municipalities in the region have discussing whether they should follow suit. Among them are Oktotoks and Airdrie.

Genung recited the famous Jaws movie catchline, "Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water" when talking about the drastic rise in COVID-19 cases across Alberta.

He reiterated a comment from early this week that the last thing Cochrane wants is to move backwards after residents worked together to keep the number of cases low here.

"Our economy is in such a fragile state that if we can voluntarily wear a mask to keep the numbers low we could help our local businesses and economy. I would really hate to see us go backwards."