Calgary city council approves mask bylaw in public places, vehicles

Calgary has approved a bylaw that will see people using masks on public transit and on public premises. PAUL VILLENA / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

The City of Calgary will mandate masks on both public vehicles and public premises in the city to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The city had originally been considering a Calgary Transit mandatory mask order, but with a recent significant upswing in COVID-19 cases, the city jumped ahead to expand the mandate.

In Tuesday’s provincial update, Alberta added another 141 cases, continuing its upward trend in a post-relaunch situation. Over the weekend, from Friday to Sunday, Alberta added 368 coronavirus cases.

While the province hasn’t made masks mandatory, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has said that anyone not able to maintain the two-metre distance should wear a mask.

The city’s bylaw will mandate that masks are worn in these locations, as of Aug. 1. The bylaw was approved 12-3, with Couns. Sean Chu, Jeromy Farkas and Joe Magliocca opposed.

A person doesn’t need to wear a mask if they’re separated by an installed screen, shield or other barrier. There are also other exemptions to the bylaw.

In the first part of this week’s combined meeting of council, councillors heard from both Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson, and Calgary doctor Raj Bhardwaj.

“If we want to gain control of this infection… we should use all the tools available to us, not leave one tool on the shelf unused,” Bhardwaj told councillors in that meeting.

“We need to act quickly, broadly, or we will be chasing this for a long, long time.”

‘Time is of the essence’

Some councillors questioned whether this was the jurisdiction of the city to make public health decisions like this. However, in the absence of direction from the province, city’s are able to enact their own local bylaws, council was told.

“Time is of the essence. We have a window, we have a fixed, seven-week window colleagues, to see what we can do to try to bend this curve back to where our children will be able to go to school this fall, where businesses will not have to shut down again, and some of them never able to recover,” said Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart, in her close.

The penalty for failing to wear a face mask is $100. Failure to post proper signage in an indoor location requiring a face mask is $200.

Calgary city council still has the opportunity to make changes to the proposed bylaw at the July 27 meeting.  

About Darren Krause 600 Articles
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4 Comments

  1. This law is based on data before May 18th with Sweden’s comparison. It’s based on old data and does not reflect reality. These people should all be fired from city council, same goes with the doctors who made this political.

  2. For the latest data go to https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm then click on “Severe outcomes” and scroll down to see that Calgary area has less than 1 person per million (0.8) on July 19 that was hospitalized. This bylaw is a sham. The data of increased cases is found under “Total Cases” and clearly shows an increase but bottom chart shows that we likely peaked on July 17. Let’s hope clearer minds prevail on July 27 and this bylaw is repealed

  3. I urge all those who do not agree with this bylaw, if passed, to avoid patronizing local businesses, go to cochrane or airdrie or other. Lot’s of people I talk to have said they’ll be doing just this until this farce of mask wearing is over. The only thing city hall will understand is economic impact.

    Research shows that masks are NOT effective against the transmission of influenza, and covid is a weaker version of influenza.

    Note city hall has absolutely no idea about how long they need this, why if it is so important they didn’t do it immediately, and why they’re doing it since it contradicts data. It seems clear that they’re making fixes up as they go along and joining in on the politicized (mainly coming from the US and mainstream US media) public panic. We came through MERS, SARS, SWINE, etc and this is the same. Wash your hands is the best advice. Mask wearing is ineffective. Watch we’ll still have cases and they won’t understand why.

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