Calgary

Airdrie holds off on making masks mandatory, waits to see if cases rise

Airdrie will not be following in the footsteps of other Alberta municipalities by making masks mandatory, the city decided Tuesday.

25 active COVID-19 cases in Airdrie on Tuesday, a rate of 35.7 per 100,000 people.

Airdrie, Alta., will hold off on requiring masks to be worn indoors in public spaces until COVID-19 case numbers rise. (Narongpon Chaibot/Shutterstock)

Airdrie will not be following in the footsteps of other Alberta municipalities by making masks mandatory, the city decided Tuesday.

Instead, city council directed administration to prepare a mask bylaw that it will put in place if the city's COVID-19 case numbers rise.

The city said the bylaw will be put into effect if the city is put under an "enhanced" status with Alberta Health. 

Areas can either be declared "open," which means there is a low level of risk and no additional restrictions in place, under a "watch," which means the area has risen above 50 active cases per 100,000 people, or "enhanced" risk, which would require enhanced public health measures to control the spread of COVID-19. 

The province has said that the number of cases for a region to be declared "enhanced" risk is informed by local context, and is not a fixed number. 

There were 25 active cases in Airdrie on Tuesday, a rate of 35.7 per 100,000 people.

"This is an unprecedented time requiring unprecedented decision making," said Mayor Peter Brown in a statement posted to the city's website. "Thank you to our residents, businesses and everyone for sharing your passionate opinions and engaging with us on this important topic."

Other cities introduce mask bylaws

Alberta municipalities have begun to implement face covering bylaws in the hope of preventing the spread of COVID-19 as the province has seen an increasing number of cases in recent weeks. 

Alberta reported 80 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the total active cases to 1,397. There were 88 people in hospital. 

Masks will be mandatory in all indoor public spaces in Calgary starting Aug. 1.

Starting Friday, masks will be mandatory in Banff's indoor public spaces, as well as outside along Banff Avenue — the town's main street.

On Wednesday, Edmonton city council will consider a temporary bylaw that would impose $100 fines for people who don't wear masks in any indoor public places starting on Aug. 1. The city has already announced that face coverings will soon be mandatory on public transit and all city-owned and operated facilities

The Town of Okotoks is looking at requiring masks be worn inside municipal facilities and transit. The final vote on the issue is expected Aug. 17.

And Lethbridge has passed a bylaw requiring masks for anyone using its transit service.

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