Calgary

Where you have to wear a mask in Alberta as COVID-19 continues to spread

With cases of COVID-19 on the rise, masking regulations are varied and changing quickly around Alberta as municipalities try to prevent the spread of the virus. To help you keep up with the rules, here's a list of what different municipalities are doing.

Chestermere the latest to add temporary mask bylaw as cases rise

CBC has compiled a list of towns and cities around Alberta with their corresponding policies on masks. The list will be updated regularly. (Christy Thompson/Shutterstock)

With cases of COVID-19 on the rise, masking regulations are varied and changing quickly around Alberta as municipalities try to prevent the spread of the virus.

To help you keep up with the rules, we've curated a list of towns and cities in the province, outlining their corresponding policies on masks. We'll try to keep it updated regularly.

  • If you have an update, addition or question on our mandatory mask list, please email calgarynewstips@cbc.ca

Walmart, Superstore and No Frills

While they are obviously not municipalities in Alberta, Walmart Canada has implemented a mandatory mask bylaw in its stores countrywide as of Aug. 12 regardless of whether local bylaws call for them. Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills did the same for all stores across Canada as of Aug. 29.

Masks are also mandatory at CrossIron Mills shopping centre just north of Calgary.

Calgary

As of Aug. 1, masks must be worn in all public places in Calgary, unless the people are separated by an installed screen, shield or other barrier.

Those public spaces include any building, structure or other enclosed area where the public has access to by right. In other words, places like grocery stores and shopping malls. The bylaw applies to Calgary Transit buses and the CTrain, as well as taxis and Ubers.

The city says it will be handing out 500,000 free face masks while supplies last at designated public areas.

"We have several spots in Calgary where you can pick some free face coverings up," said Calgary Emergency Management Agency's deputy chief Susan Henry. "We recognize that cost and availability may be a barrier for some, so this may help ease the burden on those who don't already have their own face coverings."

University of Calgary facilities plan to follow the bylaw, and will be handing out two complimentary reusable masks to faculty, staff and students before the fall term. At the Calgary airport, they are also requiring mandatory temperature checks as of July 30.

Places of worship will be included in the bylaw. However, those in attendance may remove their masks temporarily to provide or receive service, such as to receive communion, a city spokesperson said.

The bylaw excludes any place where there is an enrolment or membership requirement in order to access it. Masks will also not be mandatory in schools or daycares.

People also won't be mandated to wear masks when it prevents them from providing or receiving a service, which means Calgarians won't have to wear masks while dining out for food or drinks, or at the gym. But some businesses, like fitness centres, may require mask use in part of their facilities.

The bylaw won't apply to outdoor settings, the city said, but face coverings are still strongly recommended where it is difficult or impossible to maintain physical distance outside.

Other exemptions from mandatory mask use include:

  • Children under two years of age.
  • People with underlying medical conditions or disabilities inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering.
  • People who are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance.
  • People who are caregiving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person's disability.

People who don't wear a mask could be fined $50, and businesses could see a $200 fine for not displaying the proper signage, though the city says its aim is an educational approach. 

Edmonton

Face masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces in Edmonton as of Aug. 1, after city council passed a temporary bylaw in effect until the end of the year. 

The bylaw requires people to wear face coverings at all times while in enclosed or indoor public places or public vehicles. It includes indoor spaces that are both public and privately owned.

People not wearing masks indoors could face fines of $100. City administrators said they will start with an education and awareness campaign, followed by warnings and use enforcement as a last resort. 

There are some more exceptions to the bylaw:

  • Children under the age of two. 
  • People exercising indoors or in a pool. 
  • People unable to wear a face covering due to a mental or physical concern.

As well, people eating and drinking in designated spaces or as part of a religious ceremony may remove their masks. 

Schools, health-care facilities and daycare centres will also be exempt from the bylaw as they fall under provincial jurisdiction.

Lethbridge

Masks will be mandatory in all of Lethbridge's indoor public spaces as of Aug. 24.

The bylaw includes spaces like malls, grocery stores, retail businesses, churches, taxis and public transportation. 

There are exemptions, including for children under age two, people who are eating or drinking, or people who are unable to put on or remove a face covering without assistance. 

Those who don't adhere to the bylaw could be fined $100.

Banff

Masks will be mandatory in Banff's indoor public spaces, as well as outside along Banff Avenue — the town's main street — as of July 31.

The mask bylaw will include outdoor restaurants in that area, while people are not eating or drinking.

The bylaw excludes schools, hospitals, daycares, and people with underlying health conditions or who are participating in sports. The masks will be required to cover the wearer's mouth, nose and chin.

Those who contravene the bylaw could be fined $150.

Canmore

Starting on Aug. 7 at noon, all residents, visitors and employees will be required to wear a face covering in all indoor public spaces in Canmore.

This includes restaurants, public transit, taxis, malls, grocery stores, retail stores, places of worship and rec centres.

Under the bylaw, acceptable face coverings include face shields, non-medical masks, medical masks and bandanas or scarves that securely cover the nose, mouth and chin.

Residents and visitors in need of masks can reference a directory on the Town of Canmore's website.

Some people are exempt from the bylaw:

  • Children under two.
  • Persons with an underlying medical condition or disability that inhibits their ability to wear a face covering.
  • Persons who are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance.
  • Persons who are eating or drinking at a public place that offers food or beverage services in designated seating areas.
  • Persons engaging in athletic or water-based activities, the latter being an activity where their face may be submerged in water, including but not limited to persons employed as a lifeguard.
  • Persons who are care-giving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person's disability.
  • Persons who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service.

Jasper

A bylaw has made face coverings compulsory on most of Jasper's downtown sidewalks and in outdoor public places where a two-metre distance can't be maintained, joining Banff in making outdoor masks mandatory.

Mandatory masking also extends to Jasper's indoor public spaces, including privately owned businesses and facilities, according to a news release.

Under the Temporary Compulsory Face Covering bylaw, coverings must fully cover the nose, mouth and chin in the following areas:

  • The west side of Connaught Drive between Hazel Avenue and Aspen Avenue.
  • Patricia Street between Hazel Avenue and Pyramid Lake Road,
  • All connecting public sidewalks between those streets.
  • All public sidewalks where a two-metre distance cannot be maintained.
  • All public indoor spaces, including all businesses, facilities, patios and indoor areas that are open to the public.

Exceptions apply in indoor public places where people are separated from others by physical barriers or plastic shields, for children under the age of two, for people with medical conditions, and for people who are eating or drinking at assigned seating indoors.

St. Albert

City council passed the Face Coverings Bylaw on Aug. 4 that requires face coverings to be worn in all indoor public places within St. Albert, including city facilities, retail locations, transit and vehicles for hire.

Indoor public places includes any property accessible by the public:

  • Retail stores.
  • Restaurants.
  • Entertainment venues.
  • Recreation centres.
  • Transit shelters (semi-enclosed and enclosed)..

The city says it does not include schools or other educational institutions, hospitals or other health-care facilities, or child care centres.

Chestermere

Chestermere council unanimously approved a temporary mask bylaw Nov. 17 that requires residents and visitors to wear a face covering at all times while in an indoor public space, public workplace, or public vehicle where other people are present. Find out the exceptions here.

Fort McMurray

As of Oct. 26, Wood Buffalo residents are under a mandatory mask bylaw for the next 30 days. The bylaw was triggered when Wood Buffalo reached 51 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

Fort McKay First Nation

The northern Alberta First Nation enacted a mandatory mask policy after the community had its first positive case July 12.

Trips into and out of the First Nation will also be limited to one per day, and travel within the community is strongly discouraged.

Okotoks

The Town of Okotoks voted on Aug. 17 in favour of a mask bylaw in all indoor municipal spaces, effective Aug. 24.

That expanded on Oct. 26 after a spike in COVID cases. Masks are now required in all indoor public spaces. The Okotoks bylaw will stay in effect until actives cases are under 15 for 30 consecutive days.

Failing to wear a mask in indoor public places carries a $100 fine.

Cochrane

The town just west of Calgary decided earlier in the year that if the number of active cases of COVID-19 in Cochrane rises to 10 or more, masks will become mandatory in Cochrane's indoor public places or public vehicles.

That happened on Nov. 9, so face coverings are now mandatory in all indoor public spaces and public vehicles with exceptions. Face coverings are not required under these settings:

When eating or drinking at a public premises, like a restaurant. 

  • When eating or drinking at a public premises, like a restaurant.
  • When you're doing physical activity, like in a gym or fitness centre.
  • For children under five years of age.
  • In private spaces, like a home or office.
  • People with disabilities or underlying medical conditions that effect their ability to wear a face covering.
  • If you are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance.
  • If you are care-giving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person's disability (for example, ability to lipread).
  • For people who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service (for example, a visit to the dentist).

The mandatory measure would be rescinded when the number of active cases are reported to be below 10 for 14 consecutive days.

Medicine Hat

Masks are not mandatory in Medicine Hat, but their use is encouraged on public transit. They are available to passengers using transit on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Drumheller

While the town known for its dinosaurs is not putting a mandatory bylaw in place, it is encouraging the use of masks by handing out "Dino Bucks" in stores and other indoor spaces for those that don them.

Participating merchants will have posted signs, and will be compensated at 90 per cent of the value ($4.50) of the voucher.

"Enforcing the wearing of masks through a bylaw is challenging in a community as spread out as the Drumheller Valley and requires significant resources to achieve compliance. We think a better alternative is to reward those who are wearing masks instead," said Darryl Drohomerski with the town in a release.

Red Deer

The city is not currently implementing mandatory mask use, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said on July 24.

However, Veer indicated that this decision is subject to change if COVID-19 numbers increase in Red Deer — or if Alberta Health recommends it for the city.

Airdrie

The city north of Calgary didn't implement a mask bylaw at first, but that later changed. Now face coverings are mandatory in all public settings. Find out more here.

Grande Prairie

The City of Grande Prairie implemented a mandatory mask bylaw on Oct. 26 when total active cases within the city and county topped 100.

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