Nenshi pleased with mask bylaw compliance, encourages businesses to keep patios open

CALGARY — Despite a rising trend in the number of COVID-19 cases, Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he’s pleased with how Calgary’s mask bylaw is combating the spread of the virus. 

With the new legislation in place now for just over a month, Nenshi notes that compliance levels for face coverings are “very high” in indoor public spaces and about 85 to 90 per cent of transit riders are wearing one. 

“I’m going to sound mathematical for a moment, but the fact is that we’ve actually really kept the numbers down,” said Nenshi of the slowing of the spread of the coronavirus. “So when we passed the bylaw we were actually doubling our cases on a weekly basis and that number has really grown to more than four weeks now.”

The numbers may be smaller than the city previously modelled, but the Calgary zone once again leads the province in active COVID-19 cases after a surge in infections this past week.

Alberta added 114 infections on Wednesday, bringing the province’s total active cases to 1,403. A total of 632 are in the Calgary zone and 538 in the Edmonton zone. The stats from this time last week showed the Calgary Zone only had 363 active cases.

Nenshi says he recognized the spike in cases, adding that Calgarians still have to be vigilant. 

“Remember to keep your distance, wash your hands, and wear your mask,” said Nenshi. “Those are critical things we need to do in order to keep a lid on this so we don’t run into another situation where we’ve got to close schools or businesses again. I’m hopeful that will not happen as the weather turns.”

As temperature start to cool, the city is encouraging local businesses to keep their outdoor patios open. 

The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit during the global pandemic, but Nenshi says options to dine outside have been helpful for business.

“I am a little nervous that even though restaurants are doing a terrific job of maintaining physical distancing, as the weather gets colder there’s always a concern that more indoor gatherings will lead to more spread,” said Nenshi. “So I really am encouraging restaurants get those lamps, get those heaters, and, it sounds silly but it works, put blankets on the tables and keep those patios open as far into the season as we can.”

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