Edmonton City council officially passed a bylaw mandating the use of masks or face coverings in all indoor public spaces or vehicles, including any property that is publicly or privately owned.
“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,” said Mayor Don Iveson.
“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.”
Indoor public places includes any property, whether publicly or privately owned, that members of the public can access.
This includes retail stores, entertainment venues, recreation centres, restaurants, and transit stations, along with buses, LRT vehicles, taxis, and other vehicles for hire.
The city says it is up to business owners to decide whether they wish to refuse service to patrons not wearing face coverings.
The fine for violating the bylaw, which comes into effect August 1 and will run to the end of the year, is $100.
“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,” says the city.
The city says there are some exceptions to the bylaw, including those who cannot put on or remove a mask 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, and people providing care or assistance to a person with a disability when wearing a face covering would affect that service.
In addition, 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, as well as areas within a business that are exclusively accessed by employees.