Calgary city council makes decision on extending face mask bylaw

Jun 23 2021, 6:56 am

Calgary city council is extending its face mask bylaw.

The province is preparing to head into Stage 3 of its reopening plan, which lifts the remaining public health orders and restrictions. This will see all current public health restrictions lifted, including a ban on indoor social gatherings. Stage 3 is expected to begin on July 1.

According to the Alberta government’s website, under Stage 3, the general indoor provincial mask mandate will be lifted, but masking may still be required in limited and specific settings. The City of Calgary was determining whether to keep the Face Covering Bylaw in place past July 1.

This week, city council decided to extend the face coverings bylaw until July 5, at which point they will revisit it.

“We know that some people will find the removal of rules surrounding face coverings too soon, and for others it cannot come soon enough,” said Sue Henry, Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency.

“However, extending mandatory face coverings for an additional short period of time will ensure we have time to see more people get fully vaccinated and also allow us to monitor any impact of summer reopenings.”

The City reminded all Calgarians that we are currently in Stage 2 of the Government of Alberta Open for Summer Plan.

According to the City, failure to wear a face covering where required can result in a penalty of $500 and failure to display prescribed signage can result in a penalty of $200.

The Face Covering Bylaw came into effect in Calgary on August 1, 2020, just prior to Alberta Premier Kenney putting a mask mandate in place province-wide. The city’s face mask requirement was expected to remain in effect until at least December 2021.

Since last August, Calgarians have been required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces, when on public transit or in public vehicles for hire, and at all City of Calgary facilities, including recreation centres and City Hall.

There are a number of groups who are exempt from the bylaw, including children under 2 years of age, people with underlying medical conditions or disabilities inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering, and people who are eating or drinking at a public premise that offers food or beverage services, among others.

The City of Calgary reminds citizens that the province is in Stage 2 of the Government of Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan. Currently, all public health orders, including the mask bylaw, are still in place and will continue to be enforced.

Elle McLeanElle McLean

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