It’s a side of safety that’s meant to come with your burger or coffee, but the free masks promised at hundreds of Alberta drive-thru locations aren’t quite ready yet.
Last week, the province announced that Albertans could soon pick up free non-medical face masks at Tim Horton’s, McDonalds and A&W restaurant drive-thrus.
While many people have made the trip, hoping to pick theirs up, some are instead seeing a sign on doors and windows saying: “Face masks not available yet.”
The province is still distributing the masks to nearly 600 restaurants across the province. While many already have the shipments in house, it does not mean they are ready for pick up.
The province is waiting for the official launch of the program, and while it has said that’s early June it is not giving an exact date.
“What I understand, the first 20 million have now been distributed to those partners and at the locations, it’s ready to begin next week,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.
“I was disappointed because you make that trip and then afterwards I thought maybe they did say June 8, maybe it’s my hearing, maybe it was never meant to be June first, so now June 8 I’ll go back,” resident Shirley Ford said.
The province says once the face masks arrive at a restaurant, it is up to staff to package and distribute them.
The government adds it has provided details on safe handling and packaging instructions, along with a short demonstration video that was approved by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
The health minister has said the single use, non-medical face masks are not part of the provincial supply of personal protective equipment meant for health-care workers and first responders.