Edmonton makes masks mandatory on public transit, at city facilities

Edmonton makes masks mandatory on public transit, at city facilities

Edmonton will require people to wear face coverings on public transit and at city facilities starting Aug. 1.

The city is the latest municipality to mandate masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“The City of Edmonton is … mandating the use of face coverings when inside City of Edmonton owned and operated facilities, amenities, attractions and services,” Mayor Don Iveson said at an online press conference Thursday.

“This decision was not taken lightly, but our administration made it because it will help keep Edmontonians safe from COVID-19, enhance confidence in their city services and help ensure our overall economic restart is a success.”

The Alberta government has encouraged mask use, especially in indoor settings where physical distancing is difficult, but has stopped short of making it mandatory.

Calgary city council voted earlier this week to pass a temporary bylaw requiring face coverings at all indoor public premises and on public transportation, also effective on Aug. 1.

Iveson said Edmonton city council will meet again next Wednesday to consider a bylaw to require face coverings in all indoor spaces, which would include private businesses.

“We heard today from many members of council a will to proceed even today on this,” he said. “But city officials need time to draft the bylaw.

“We need to be able to learn from Calgary and other cities and hear more from business associations and the public to get it as close to right as we can while maintaining focus and appropriate urgency.”

Banff is also looking at mandatory face coverings as the number of visitors to the popular mountain town continues to increase.

Alberta reported 114 new COVID-19 cases Thursday — another in a string of days with more than 100 new infections — with 106 people in hospital and two more deaths.

Quebec was the first province to mandate masks inside public spaces.

Similar orders had already been issued at the municipal level in various cities across Ontario, including in Toronto on July 7.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2020

The Canadian Press

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