Calgary mask bylaw: What would Mayor (insert last name here) do?
It’s the summer and Calgary city council is out for a month.
As city council wound down for August, COVID-19 daily had started ramping up. On July 5, the date Calgary’s mask bylaw was repealed, Alberta had logged 139 COVID-19 cases.
Fast forward to Wednesday (Aug. 17) and 678 cases were reported in Alberta. On Thursday, there were 817 new COVID-19 cases. Earlier this month, Alberta paused their plans to remove the remaining testing, tracing and isolation requirements for patients. It was to go ahead Aug. 16 but was delayed six weeks.
Other cities have considered reinstating masking rules. Responding to a rise in cases, Strathmore was one city that reinstated. Banff, however, voted against a reinstatement.
On Friday, the city outlined its return to work policy for employees. They have postponed the mandatory return to work scheduled for between Sept. 15 and Oct. 20. Starting Oct. 20, employees will be asked to work three days a week at the corporate office.
“We will continue to monitor the infection rates, provincial protocols and Alberta Health Services guidance, and will update our plans accordingly as the situation evolves,” said Michael Thompson, acting City Manager, in a prepared statement.
Though unclear about mandatory vaccines for employees, the city did say they are exploring a rapid testing program. It would be administered to those employees not fully vaccinated (two doses and 14 days).
When Calgary city council repealed the temporary mask bylaw on July 5, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said at the time that he didn’t want to have to bring it back.
This week, one mayoral candidate, Coun. Jyoti Gondek, called for an emergency city council meeting to discuss a handful of items related to COVID-19 public health measures.
Response from other mayoral candidates
We put this question to the other mayoral candidates, so you know where they stand on this issue:
Do you support the call for an emergency meeting urging council to discuss reinstating the city’s temporary mask bylaw? (We will continue to update as responses are received).
Jeff Davison: “This is becoming the typical approach from Jyoti – Always starting with an attack. If she wants a meeting, she could have picked up the phone and requested a meeting instead of immediately attacking the province and the Mayor. Can we have a respectful conversation?” Davison said.
“Recovering from COVID is something that requires working with the provincial and federal governments and I don’t support picking needless fights. For my part I don’t support the meeting request or a return to mandatory masking at this time. I continue to support Dr. Hinshaw and believe she deserves our support.”
Brad Field: ““The last thing Calgarians need right now is more political theatre from councillors making decisions that should be reserved for health care professionals,” Field said.
“I remain confident in the direction of Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health who at this time is not recommending a widespread province-wide mask bylaw. At this point, I am comfortable that the decision to wear masks be left to individual choice and would encourage Calgarians to respect each other’s decision and do what makes them comfortable.”
Jan Damery: “I support the call for an emergency meeting, but we need to do more as we go into the fall. That’s why I made the call for vaccine passports over three weeks ago,” Damery said.
Zane Novak: “Rarely when city council goes into a secret meeting does the outcome bode well for Calgarians,” Novak said.
“To the best of my knowledge, there are no medical experts who are currently on city council. Since this is a secret meeting, Calgarians have no way of knowing if city council is consulting with authorized medical experts to reach any conclusions.
“We need to start examining the collateral damage this pandemic has had on the residents of our city, no Calgarian has escaped unscathed. It is imperative that we focus on the most at-risk groups, and allow the rest of society to deal with living through a pandemic that will become endemic, there is no foreseeable end to this. The mental health of all Calgarians has been kicked to the curb, not appreciated, and certainly not addressed.”
Teddy Ogbonna: Teddy supports the call for an emergency meeting urging council to debate on city’s temporary mask bylaw – keep (the) mask bylaw for City facilities and not mandating mask for the public.
Khan Zaheed Ali: I was born in the dark that covid just brought to you all. I would ask my citizens to be intelligent. It is hard enough to breath for healthy and the immune-compromised alike and the mask it’s self [sic} caused more deaths in 1921 than the plague it self.
If a citizen felt unwell and had no choice but to go out, I would ask they please wear a mask. It’s intelligence not trust-funded, I’m-better-than-you type b.s.
I understand my answer is longer than asked for. I have to respond in a fashion so that everyone understands that my gloves are off and I will speak on what is right.
Larry Heather: I absolutely disagree with a meeting Calgary to vote for fresh bondage to ineffective masking. Mandatory Masking is a Crime Against Humanity, a mandated medical device and treatment, and a form of vicious physical, psychological, and sociological child abuse on children. I have the Calgary Mask Bylaw in Provincial Court on September 20th to challenge it on scientific and constitutional grounds. Someday the truth will come out.
Shaoli Wang: When you see Ward 3, 4, 5, 11 Couns. were all showing their pictures and videos with people close by, indoor and outdoor, all without masks, you should be aware their mandatory masks motion are lies. Why bother? Average Calgarians are more trustworthy.
Dean Hopkins: “It is my opinion that council should not be considering the reinstatement of mandatory masking within our city. Our present council should be empowering all citizens in our city to take responsibility for their own welfare and protection,” Hopkins said.
“It is not as though Calgarians do not know how to protect themselves as it has been repeated time and time again for over a year. What council should be looking at is a solution to resolve transmission issues.
I issued a document to my councillor in January 2021 of this year to be distributed to the entire council as I have been a professional facilities maintenance operator for over a decade so I stressed my concerns regarding the function and maintenance of all HVAC and air handling units in our city. It referred to the circulation and airflow in buildings such as restaurants, hospitals, long-term care facilities and schools, I gave them a few examples of how they could implement specific city maintenance policies to combat the spread of COVID 19. I received zero response from any council member.”
Will Vizor: “This topic is a sensitive subject indeed. I would look at all the evidence in respect to what doctors are requesting because I am not a doctor. I will consult with businesses on what is the best solutions for them. But I will not dictate my feelings or opinion upon anyone,” Vizor said.
Mizanur Rahman: “The way the Delta virus is re-emerging, the City Council may start using masks again on top of the emergency basis,” Rahman said.