Coronavirus: Chestermere passes mandatory mask bylaw

Close up portrait of a man using pm 2.5 pollution mask in the street of a big city.
Close up portrait of a man using pm 2.5 pollution mask in the street of a big city. (Getty Images)

City councillors in Chestermere, Alta., passed a mandatory face-covering bylaw on Tuesday night.

Chestermere is the latest city in the province to initiate a mask bylaw and it comes after the mayor said the city received an overwhelming number of emails from people asking council to take further action to protect residents from COVID-19.

“This bylaw is temporary and will only be activated when the government of Alberta places the city under an enhanced status, as we have been for the past few weeks,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers.

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The bylaw went into effect on Nov. 17 and applies to people over the age of two in public spaces and civic facilities.

“The evidence shows that masks can protect the wearer and those in proximity to that person. Therefore, as the safety, welfare and the health of our residents is the most important issue, we must do whatever we can to combat the rapidly increasing infection rates in our province and in our own community,” said Chalmers.

Some exemptions are in place, including for those who are unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition.

The bylaw allows for the removal of masks during physical activities, while consuming food and drinks or while taking part in religious or spiritual ceremonies.

Read more: COVID-19: Here’s where you have to wear a mask in Alberta

Chalmers said council is taking the recent call to action from Dr. Deena Hinshaw seriously, and the city is also asking people to limit their gatherings.

“We want our indoor sports, fitness activities, businesses, faith groups and our local organizations to be able to go back to normal as soon as possible, and we need your help to do that,” Chalmers added.

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City peace officers and RCMP will be enforcing the bylaw and handing out $100 fines to anyone found to be violating the bylaw.