Calgary

Calgary city council votes in favour of repealing local mask bylaw

Calgary city council has voted to repeal the municipal mask bylaw whenever the province lifts its mask mandate.

Councillors voted 13-2 in favour of following the province's lead

A businessmen wearing a mask passes through an enclosed walkway in Calgary, something that won't be required by city bylaws once the province relaxes its own mask mandate. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Calgary city council has voted to repeal the local mask bylaw whenever the Alberta government lifts its provincewide mask mandate.

The Kenney government has indicated Albertans should be able to enter indoor public spaces mask-free as of March 1, but a firm date has yet to be confirmed.

Most members of council support the city falling in line with the province's decision so that there is no confusion.

"I'm happy that we've moved our city's policies in alignment with the province, a lot less confusion," said Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean. "We'll have good compliance."

Mayor Jyoti Gondek says the city mask bylaw will stay in place until at least March 1, but ultimately it will be a decision of the provincial government.

"It's probably going to be March 1, but 'we've got to wait and see what's happening' and 'we'll keep an eye on the data' is what they're telling us."

Different ideas of how to repeal

A complex series of votes on the repeal looked at two main options: repeal on a certain date or wait until the province removes its mandate.

Initially, council voted 8-7 to repeal the bylaw on March 1. There was an amendment to change that to March 31 but then that also failed.

Then a motion to repeal the bylaw timed with an end to the provincial mandate passed 13-2, with councillors Raj Dhaliwal (Ward 5) and Richard Pootmans (Ward 6) opposed at final reading.

The city is also looking at whether to bring a mask mandate to city-run buildings and Calgary Transit.

One change to the city's mask bylaw does take effect immediately. The bylaw now applies to people 13 and older. It previously applied to those two years old and up.

The provincial government lifted its mask requirements for schools starting Feb. 14 

The Calgary mask bylaw has been in place since September, when the city declared a local state of emergency as patients sick with the Delta variant began to fill local ICUs.

With files from Scott Dippel

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