‘Outnumber the mask-wearers’: Mask protest planned at Calgary’s Chinook Centre

CALGARY — Police and mall security staff say they are aware of and prepared for a possible anti-mask protest scheduled to take place at Calgary’s largest shopping centre.

The Freedom Unity Alliance, a group that claims to bring socially conscious people together is reportedly planning an anti-mask protest at Calgary’s Chinook Centre Saturday afternoon.

The organization, a Facebook group that has more than 600 members, first proposed the idea of the protest on Oct. 12.

“I really would like for all of us to meet at a mall,” the post on the group’s page reads. “Just walk around or shop and out number the mask wearers.

“To some it may raise questions or inspire others to take theirs off too?! We are there to raise awareness and to show that they are not alone.”

According to bylaws passed by the City of Calgary earlier this year, everyone who visits a business must wear a face covering to protect against the spread of COVID-19. Any Calgarian who fails to do so is subject to a $50 fine.

Any business that fails to post proper signage could also be fined $150.

The protest is scheduled to take place between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Calgary police say they are aware of the protest that was organized on social media and they plan to be present to ensure it doesn’t interfere with shoppers and to keep the peace.

They tell CTV News they expect to see about 100 participants at the mall on Saturday.

Security staff at Cadillac Fairview Chinook Centre also confirm to CTV News they are aware of the potential of a protest taking place and have taken appropriate measures.

Last month, city council voted 11-3 to extend the temporary bylaw.

On Aug. 18, a survey showed 89 per cent of respondents said they always wore a face covering in public and confined spaces, more than 50 per cent higher than the amount of people who were asked the same question prior to the mask bylaw.

Calgary’s bylaw will be up for review again in December.

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