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2 people given $100 tickets for not wearing face masks on Edmonton transit

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Face masks ‘more guaranteed’ to work against COVID-19 than a vaccine, CDC director says' Coronavirus: Face masks ‘more guaranteed’ to work against COVID-19 than a vaccine, CDC director says
WATCH (Sept. 16): Testifying before a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield told lawmakers that face masks are "the most important, powerful public health tool we have,” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, adding, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine."

While the vast majority of Edmontonians have been complying with the mandatory face coverings bylaw, the city has issued tickets to two people riding the LRT.

Face coverings have been required in all indoor public spaces and in public vehicles in Edmonton since Aug. 1.

“Since then, a vast majority of Edmontonians have respected the requirement, helping protect themselves and their neighbours from COVID-19,” the city said Friday in a news release.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton ends mask-exemption card distribution just 5 days after launch

“Face coverings are an important tool in the fight against COVID-19, according to Dr. Chris Sikora, Edmonton zone’s medical officer of health.

“A small number of people continue to ignore the health and safety of others in the midst of this global pandemic,” the city said.

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It said tickets were issued to two people not wearing masks while riding the LRT. The fine for each violation is $100.

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“In both cases, city staff took an education-first stance and repeatedly tried to help the individuals understand the bylaw before issuing a ticket. The individuals were offered a free mask during many of these interactions,” the city said.

On Sept. 17, interim city manager Adam Laughlin said compliance of the bylaw on public transit was at about 96 per cent, compliance in vehicles for hire was about 93 per cent, compliance within public spaces was 99 per cent and compliance within community and recreation facilities was 97 per cent.

Read more: Edmonton seeing 97% compliance rate on mandatory masks: city

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Edmonton has been rising in recent weeks. On Thursday, out of the 1,462 active cases, 773 were in the Edmonton zone.

Read more: Coronavirus: Alberta has 1.02% positivity rate; 4% of schools have active cases

The City of Edmonton is back on the province’s “watch” list, a category given to regions with at least 10 active cases and a rate of over 50 active cases per 100,000 population.

Out of Edmonton’s 15 regions, 10 were in the “watch” category on Friday and five were listed as “open.”

In the news release, the city thanked people for wearing masks to reduce the spread and for properly throwing out their used masks and gloves in the garbage.

“The city is continuing to distribute additional litter kits to community leagues and businesses.”

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