City relying on "honour system" for mask exemptions

Aug 11 2020, 11:12 am

The city is asking Edmontonians to follow the honour system when it comes to an exemption from their new mandatory mask bylaws.

According to the city, while the majority of people in public and private spaces are complying and wearing face coverings or masks, those with valid exemptions are being challenged by others for not wearing a mask.

“Some people with legitimate exemptions are being challenged or made uncomfortable when they go out in public without a mask or face covering,” said the city in a release.

“The exemption card program is designed to give people with an exemption a way to show they cannot wear a mask or face covering.”

Currently, exemptions are in place for those under the age of two, those unable to remove a mask without assistance, those with “mental or physical concerns or limitations,” while eating or drinking in designated spaces, exercise, providing assistance or care, or engaging in services that require the removal of face coverings.

The city does not require individuals that fall under those categories to present medical proof, but instead, say they are relying on the “honour system” when giving out exemption cards.

“If people who are exempt under the bylaw and are experiencing refusal of service, they may advise the city in order to follow up with the organization.”

The city says that although more people will likely request exemption cards, it is only expected to represent less than 1% of the city’s population.

“Since the bylaw came into effect on August 1, approximately 32,407 people have attended a city recreation centre. Only 990 were observed not wearing a face covering with 583 of these under the age of two.”

Exemption cards are available at sevenĀ recreation centres.

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