Wearing a face mask at indoor public places will be mandatory for Calgarians beginning this August.
A release from the City of Calgary states that a City Council decision has made face coverings mandatory for those in public buildings as well as on public transit in an effort to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Over the past week Alberta, and Calgary in particular, has seen a surge in new coronavirus cases, with active cases rising to above 1,000 throughout the province. Nearly half of Alberta’s current active cases are found in Calgary, as well as in those aged 20 to 39.
“This temporary bylaw should be considered one of our most important tools to keep Calgary open,” said Kay Choi, Manager of Strategic Services with Calgary Community Standards, in the release.
“With businesses reopening, more social interactions and the number of cases increasing in Calgary, these additional measures will better mitigate a potential resurgence being experienced around the world. We know that navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for local businesses and a second wave may further exasperate an already challenged economy.”
The release noted that the new bylaw was informed by over 2,000 local businesses, and contains exceptions for the following:
- Children under 2 years of age
- People with underlying medical conditions or disabilities inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering
- People who are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance
- People who are eating or drinking at a public premises that offers food or beverage services
- People engaging in an athletic or fitness activity
- People who are caregiving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person’s disability
- People who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service (for example, a visit to the dentist
“If you are in an indoor public space, please wear a face covering,” said Chief Tom Sampson, Calgary Emergency Management Agency, in the release.
“This is not about enforcement, it is about educating people first. We’re trying to get the public to comply during what could be a worsening situation that may be coming if we can’t respond within the next six to eight weeks.”
Those who fail to wear a face mask and do not fall under any of the above exceptions could be fined $100 to $200 dollars, the release states.
The new bylaw comes into force on August 1 and businesses are expected to have signage in place alerting their patrons of the new rules.