Banff council to debate making masks mandatory as COVID-19 numbers rise

CALGARY — With COVID-19 numbers rising across the province, Banff councillors will debate Friday whether to make wearing a mask mandatory at indoor public settings in the town.

A special meeting of council will begin at 9 a.m.

If approved, the mandate would apply to public places like restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, libraries, convention centres and other leisure facilities.

Schools and hospitals would also be included.

Exemptions would apply to anyone under the age of two, those with medical conditions, including breathing or cognitive difficulties or a disability that prevents them from safely wearing a mask, and anyone who can’t put on or remove a mask without help from someone else.

Penalties could include a fine of $150.

In June, Banff council voted to repeal an earlier bylaw making masks mandatory at indoor and outdoor public settings.

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in Alberta have risen by nearly 50 per cent since the start of the month. The province reported 133 coronavirus patients in hospital, including 29 in intensive care units on Tuesday. 

There has been more than 100 COVID-19 patients in hospital every day since Aug. 3 and more than 20 patients in intensive care since the start of the month. 

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have risen from 92 at the start of the month to 133, a 46 per cent increase. 

There were two new deaths due to COVID-19 reported Tuesday, bringing the province’s death toll to 2,330.

Among eligible Albertans, 76.5 per cent have received a first dose of vaccine and 67.1 per cent have had two doses.

 

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