City council to debate when Calgary’s mask bylaw should end

City council is expected to decide Monday when masks will no longer be mandatory in indoor spaces in Calgary.

The discussion on when Calgary’s temporary face covering bylaw should expire comes as Alberta inches closer to Stage 3 of the province’s “Open for Summer” plan, which will see nearly all COVID-19 health restrictions lifted as of July 1.

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Currently, Alberta remains in Stage 2, with masking requirements in place throughout the province.

However, even after Alberta progresses to Stage 3 and the general indoor mask mandate throughout the province is lifted, a mandatory mask bylaw would still be in effect in Calgary.

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Council administration has identified four options for Calgary’s face covering bylaw, including:

  1. Repealing the bylaw on July 31, 2021.
  2. Repealing the bylaw once the province enters Stage 3 of Alberta’s “Open for Summer” plan.
  3. Repealing the bylaw when 75 per cent of eligible Calgarians are fully vaccinated.
  4. Keeping it in place until December 2021, as per the original bylaw.

Administration is recommending council go ahead with the first recommendation and that the bylaw expire on July 31, saying it would help ensure that COVID-19 cases in Calgary don’t increase once the province moves to Stage 3.

“The timeline proposed provides a low impact measure to prevent COVID-19 transmission while businesses reopen and offers a specific end date for the face coverings bylaw if there are no further restrictions on indoor public spaces announced by the Government of Alberta,” a council report states.

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Calgary’s temporary face covering bylaw was passed in July 2020, months before Premier Jason Kenney announced a province-wide mask mandate in November 2020.

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