Calgary councillor calls urgent committee meeting to discuss mask mandate

CALGARY — A Calgary city councillor has called an urgent meeting on Friday for a city committee to discuss what options need to be considered for the safety of Calgarians during the fourth wave of the pandemic, including bringing back the mandatory mask mandate.

Ward 9 councillor, Gian-Carlo Carra, who is the chair of the emergency management committee has scheduled the meeting for Sept. 3 at 1 p.m.

In a tweet, Carra said the committee advises council on the development of emergency plans and programs.

The public can tune in to the livestream.

Carra told CTV if the committee decides to recommend bringing back a mask mandate, it has 24 hours to call a special meeting of council.

The announcement of the meeting comes a day after the city of Edmonton re-introduced a mandatory mask mandate which takes effect on Friday.

“A lot of folks are pleased that Edmonton moved this quickly and we do need to move quickly,” said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Nenshi said projects of case numbers are troubling.

“We’re at about 1,000 cases a day now,” he said. “It would be quite likely that two weeks from now that’ll be doubled, 2,000 cases or more a day and so the time to move is now.”

Nenshi can call a special council meeting at his discretion but he must receive written request from a majority of councillors.

Tuesday, Nenshi did not say whether or not he would call a meeting. He said the city has been in limbo.

“It’s very clear that the province has been pretty derelict in its duties,”  said Nenshi. “I’m not sure they’re going to do anything,”

“The challenge with the mask bylaw is that in and of itself without a robust testing, tracing and isolating system it’s not as effective as it could be,” he added. “Ultimately part of this relies on us waiting on the province and part of it is really thinking hard about what the city can do on its own.”

Nenshi said masks on public transit and city facilities will continue with no end date set.

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