City vows vigilance on COVID-19 health measures amid worries of variant-driven third wave
Edmontonians who don't stay the course put economic recovery at risk, says city manager
Police and peace officers in Edmonton will continue to enforce public health measures by handing out fines and warnings to people who flout the rules, said city manager Andre Corbould.
"To be clear, there's absolutely no reluctance to enforce the law in the city and this applies to the face-covering bylaw as well as the Public Health Act," Corbould said Wednesday.
Edmontonians must stay the course, especially since a new, more contagious variant has been found in the community, Corbould said.
On Monday, Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro confirmed that a case of the variant first identified in the United Kingdom had been detected in someone who had no links to travel.
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The city is working with the province to understand more about how the variants are spreading and to chart a path forward, Corbould said.
"Fast-spreading variants could introduce a new third wave while we wait for vaccine roll-out, extending the delay of our economic recovery," he said. "Thus the need to now remain vigilant."
There are no plans to introduce more stringent restrictions at the municipal level, said Iveson.
"Our strong first preference would continue to be for the government of Alberta to make those decisions based on what powers it has and what information it has."
Concerns over enforcement at anti-mask rallies and other similar events were raised by councillors and Mayor Don Iveson during Wednesday's Emergency Advisory Committee meeting.
It's difficult for law-abiding citizens to watch others disregard public health orders in large numbers, said Iveson.
"These events are understandably vexing for Edmontonians, including myself."
Iveson has shared his concerns with the Edmonton Police Service and was told enforcement occasionally happens once the event is over, in an attempt to avoid public confrontations.
"There is often subsequent enforcement if people are identified and there's follow-up after the fact, because that is a safer situation for our enforcement personnel," he said.
In the last two weeks, 456 warnings have been issued to people who were not following public health measures. The city issued 42 tickets to Edmontonians who refused to wear a mask.
The compliance rate with the city's mask bylaw currently sits at around 98 per cent, according to city data.