City needs to better cater to those unable to wear face masks: report

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The UCP government has refused to implement province-wide mandatory use, saying such a law would be rejected by the public in areas with little or no COVID-19 infection.

The U of C report says people who genuinely can’t wear them, for reasons of anxiety, breathing impairment, dexterity challenges or sensitivity issues should be given greater consideration through an educational campaign to heighten awareness.

“Calgary, like many jurisdictions, has exempted persons with disabilities and their caretakers from the mandatory mask bylaw,” notes the study.

“However, members of the public, as well as businesses responsible for enforcing this bylaw, may not be informed about challenges to compliance for persons with disabilities.”

Those with disabilities or the inability to wear masks are avoiding the use of public transit, it states.

Some Calgarians who can and are willing to wear face masks, still aren’t able to afford them or find them, says the report.

But the report doesn’t recommend the city follow Edmonton’s example of issuing exemption cards on an honour system, a move criticized due to the widespread belief they were abused by those without any medical need for them.

The distribution of new cards was suspended Aug. 12 five days after the program’s launch.

Showing doctors’ proof of medical exemption could be one way to allay rejection or discrimination, said Calgary emergency physician Joe Vipond, who’s strongly advocated for the use of face masks.

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