City Puts in Place Mask Bylaw to Protect Calgarians
Starting in 2020, the City of Calgary implemented a mask bylaw for indoor public premises and public vehicles (e.g. transit) in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. During this time the Province of Alberta has repeatedly dragged its feet in implementing a Provincial mask mandate. The province recently announced changes to its mask requirements including no longer requiring kids under 12 to wear a mask in public or in schools, while the City mask bylaw required masks for children 2 and up.
These signs are familiar at City of Calgary businesses and have translated into 8 languages
Councillor McLean Guts the City’s Mask Bylaw With Mayor Gondek’s Support
On February 15, 2022, Councillor Dan Mclean introduced amendments to repeal the City’s masking bylaw - ultimately proposing to do so in line with the provincial mask mandate, which will expire on March 1, 2022.
Mayor Gondek has been a strong supporter of public health measures and stated three days before this vote that “[p]recautionary & life-saving measures during a global pandemic were the key to keeping schools, healthcare, businesses & society functioning.”
The vote to consider Councillor McLean’s amendment narrowly passed 8-7. Mayor Gondek surprisingly cast the deciding vote in favour of considering the amendment to repeal the mask bylaw. Had Mayor Gondek voted against this amendment, the mask bylaw would still likely be in place indefinitely.
Council vote to consider amendment to repeal mask bylaw. (Source: Madelline Smith, Calgary Herald)
Faced with a potential March 1 repeal of the City’s mask bylaw, Councillors considered another amendment to extend the bylaw for one month until March 31, which failed 8-7, with Mayor Gondek voting for the extension and Councillor Walcott voting against.
Council vote to extend City of Calgary mask bylaw until March 31st. (Source: Madelline Smith, Calgary Herald)
Progressives on Council: Get Your Act Together
Hundreds of personal emails were sent to City Council members asking Council to keep the mask bylaw in place while the Province dismantles all COVID-19 protections. A majority of Council members supported some form of extension to the mask bylaw - either indefinitely or until at least March 31. However, Council members in favour of public health measures couldn’t agree on a plan. As a result, Calgary’s mask bylaw will be repealed on March 1st in line with the Province.