Coronavirus: Aug. 1 marks Day 1 of mandatory masks in Calgary

As of Saturday, Calgary’s mandatory mask bylaw kicked in, meaning you must wear a face-covering in indoor public spaces and on public vehicles in the city.

The bylaw excludes places where there is an enrolment or membership requirement, such as schools and educational institutions, according to the city.

“The rule of thumb is if the public does not have access to it, it will be exempt under the bylaw,” it said.

Exemptions are in place for kids under two years old, people with underlying medical conditions and people who are unable to put on or remove a mask without help.

The city said it will be giving out 500,000 free disposable face masks from the province starting Saturday.

Read more: Coronavirus: Calgary city council approves mandatory masks indoors​, on transit

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Dr. Craig Jenne, an infectious disease expert at the University of Calgary, said if there is mask-wearing compliance, the number of COVID-19 cases will decrease.

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“It’s plain and simple, largely because whether the masks are 100 per cent protective, which is unlikely, they will contribute to reduce viral spread but we can’t rely on them as the sole defence,” he said Friday.

“But I think wearing a mask is a good reminder of what’s out there.”

Jenne said wearing a mask changes our behaviour.

“We have seen jurisdictions — whether it be in Europe, whether it be in Asia, whether it be even cities in the U.S. — two to three weeks after the masks come into play, viral numbers drop,” he said.

“So there is a measurable protection to the community when enough people are wearing masks.”

He said he could see anti-maskers’ argument if the city was asking them to give up their spleens.

“I’m not allowed to go shirtless into the Keg so I don’t know why a mask is any different than a dress code,” he said.

Read more: COVID-19: Calgary prepares for mandatory mask bylaw to take effect

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Sunridge Mall shopper Linda Gregoire said she brought her granddaughter because she felt safe with the masks.

“We all got to do our part. So if everyone does their part, we’ll keep the numbers low and we can get back to normal,” she said.

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