Edmonton Makes Masks Mandatory in Indoor Public Places and Public Vehicles Starting Aug 1


City council in Edmonton has voted to require the use of masks in all public indoor spaces starting Saturday.

It’s an extension of a decision last week by an emergency advisory committee for mandatory face coverings on public transit and at city facilities to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The temporary bylaw, which was passed 10-3, will apply to private businesses, retail stores, entertainment venues, recreation centres, restaurants when not eating, transit stations and all public transportation.

People not wearing masks indoors could face fines of $100, but businesses will not be required to enforce the bylaw.

Acceptable face coverings will include medical or non-medical masks or other coverings that fully cover the nose, mouth and chin.

Public and staff will have to wear face-covering at any property, whether publicly or privately owned that members of the public can access including retail stores, entertainment venues, recreation centres, restaurants, transit stations and more. Masks are required in public vehicles like buses, LRT vehicles, taxis and other vehicles for hire.

Face coverings can be removed when eating or drinking in a designated seating area or as part of a religious or spiritual ceremony, or when engaged in water activities or physical exercise.

Exceptions to who must wear a face covering in public places include

  • those who cannot put one on or remove it without assistance,
  • children under two years of age,
  • people who are unable to wear a face covering because of mental or physical concerns or protected reasons under the Alberta Human Rights Act,
  • people providing care or assistance to a person with a disability when wearing a face covering would affect that service.

The bylaw does not apply to schools, hospitals and health care facilities, child care facilities or areas where employees – like bus and transit drivers – have a physical barrier between themselves and the public. It also does not apply to areas within a business that are exclusively accessed by employees.

More and more cities across the country are bringing in temporary rules requiring people to wear masks in the hope of minimizing the reach of the novel coronavirus as people undertake more activities.

Alberta’s updated figures show 133 new cases and three more deaths.

There have been 10,603 people infected in the province since the pandemic took hold and 190 have died.

Cases have increased by more than 100 almost daily for the last two weeks. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, has said the province’s curve is no longer flat.

“This bylaw works to strike a balance between encouraging the use of face coverings for everyone’s protection, and understanding that not everyone can wear a face covering,” Mayor Don Iveson said in a release.

“We know that wearing a face covering is an important factor in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and we want it to become second nature to Edmontonians.”

Calgary city council voted last week to pass a temporary bylaw requiring face coverings at all indoor public premises and on public transportation, also effective on Aug. 1.

Banff also has made face coverings mandatory as the number of visitors to the popular mountain town continues to increase.

Quebec became the first province to mandate masks inside public spaces.

Similar orders have already been issued on the municipal level in various cities across Ontario, including in Toronto.

— With Files From The Canadian Press

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