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Calgary's mandatory mask bylaw to remain in effect until December

Last Updated Sep 15, 2020 at 6:36 am MST

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Calgary’s face covering bylaw will remain in place until mid-December.

Calgary City Council was updated on the Temporary COVID-19 Face Coverings Bylaw Monday evening where administration recommended the bylaw remain in effect, and scheduled reporting to council as the best approach to address potential amendments or the repeal of the bylaw.

A survey presented to council showed there has been a significant increase in the use of face coverings in Calgary’s indoor public spaces and public vehicles.

The survey indicates 89 per cent of people always wear a face-covering in public, an improvement of 34 per cent since being reported in July.

Calgary Transits customers face-covering compliance rate was at 95 per cent, while in mid-July it was sitting around 45 per cent.

“Calgarians are inadvertently telling us that wearing a face-covering is important to the safety and protection of our community,” Kay Choi, Manager, Strategic Services, Calgary Community Standards told council.

Calgary Community Standards has received over 600 reports of concerns related to people not wearing face coverings in a public place or businesses not displaying signage.

Two tickets for failure to wear a face-covering where required have also been issued.

Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency Tom Sampson says although Calgary’s cases have gone up and down since the face-covering bylaw was introduced that doesn’t mean it isn’t working.

“Many of our current cases have been tied to outbreaks, actually what I call significant outbreaks,” he said.

“The reality is we may be on that roller coaster for some time.”

He added the bylaw has also helped in consumer confidence and has made more people comfortable going out.

Administration anticipates the bylaw would most likely be repealed under one or more of the following three scenarios:

-Local metrics, including transmission rates (reproductive value), infections, hospitalizations, patients in intensive care, and deaths are at a sufficiently low level that medical experts agree that face coverings are no longer a recommended tool in mitigating the spread of the virus.

– A safe and effective vaccine has seen sufficient local levels of uptake, or a safe and effective treatment has been identified, such that medical experts agree that face coverings are no longer recommended in mitigating the spread of the virus.

– Medical experts, including Alberta Health Services, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the World Health Organization retract their messaging on the use of face coverings, based on evidence, in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

The motion to keep the bylaw in place until another update is provided on December 14 was passed 11-3.

Councilors Sean Chu, Joe Magliocca and Jeromy Farkas all opposed.