Calgary businesses leaving enforcement to city staff when it comes to mandatory masks

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The bylaw requires Calgarians to wear a mask or face covering in any public indoor space, including retail stores, recreation centres and city transit. Those who are non-compliant can face a $50 fine.

Ferguson said they will rely on city employees, meaning police or bylaw officers, to enforce the mandate but believe the majority of locals will voluntarily comply.

“We’ve signalled to our customers through social media and through our newsletter that we feel they should wear masks,” he said. “I like to think the majority of people in Canada and Calgary as a whole aren’t questioning our authorities on that.”

Protecting the most vulnerable and keeping Calgary’s economy going is reason enough for Calgarians to wear a mask, Ferguson added.

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Similarily, Philip Wong, who is the general manager of Bite Grocer in Inglewood, said there have been more patrons than not wearing masks in their store on Saturday.

“We’re not here to enforce the bylaw. We’re not here to agitate. There’s been enough stress and anxiety in this environment,” said Wong.

He said they don’t have the capacity to police people coming through the door on their mask usage and will instead rely on an “honour system” with faith that the community at large is committed to protecting one another.

“We just want to make sure people are getting what they want,” said Wong. “We’re not going to ruffle any feathers. It’s not our job to do that.”

Staff at the independent grocer have been given an allowance to purchase a mask or can use single-use masks available at the store.

Management is also giving employees “breather breaks” as some people find it hot or hard to breathe with a mask on, he said.

Twitter: @alanna_smithh