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City of Edmonton ramps up enforcement of COVID-19 health rules

Click to play video '‘Get a grip’: Premier Jason Kenney tells anti-maskers to stay home if they won’t wear a mask when required' ‘Get a grip’: Premier Jason Kenney tells anti-maskers to stay home if they won’t wear a mask when required
WATCH (Dec. 3, 2020): Premier Jason Kenney spoke out Thursday night about people who won't wear masks out of principle in places where they're required, saying they should get a grip and not "go where you have to wear a mask." Kenney shared his thoughts on a live Q&A on his Facebook page, where he was asked about an Edmonton server who was attacked during a confrontation over the city's mask bylaw. – Dec 3, 2020

Edmonton officers have ramped up enforcement of COVID-19 health rules since tougher restrictions were announced at the end of November.

Read more: Alberta’s new COVID-19 measures ban in-person dining, outdoor gatherings; retail to remain open

Since those stricter measures were announced, enforcement officers have issued 225 per cent more tickets than between August and November of last year, the city said Tuesday.

Between Aug. 1 and Nov. 27, 94 tickets were issued. Then, between Nov. 28 to Jan. 31, 306 tickets were issued.

Click to play video 'Mayor Don Iveson on Edmonton’s COVID-19 enforcement: ‘People are doing the right thing’' Mayor Don Iveson on Edmonton’s COVID-19 enforcement: ‘People are doing the right thing’
Mayor Don Iveson on Edmonton’s COVID-19 enforcement: ‘People are doing the right thing’ – Jan 7, 2021

Between Nov. 25, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2021, Edmonton officers issued 305 warnings related to the Public Health Act and 17 tickets.

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Over that same time period, Edmonton police issued 16 tickets under the Public Health Act.

Over the course of just one week — between Jan. 25 and 31 of this year — 409 warnings were issued regarding Edmonton’s face covering bylaw and 33 tickets were handed out by city officers.

During that week, Edmonton police also issued four tickets under the Public Health Act.

Click to play video 'Calgary bylaw and police continue to review weekend anti-mask rally' Calgary bylaw and police continue to review weekend anti-mask rally
Calgary bylaw and police continue to review weekend anti-mask rally – Dec 9, 2020

To compare, over a six-month period (Aug. 1, 2020- Jan. 31, 2021), the city issued 5,114 warnings and 303 tickets regarding the face-covering bylaw.

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“The city thanks Edmontonians and businesses for their continued efforts to follow public health orders and help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the city said in a news release Tuesday.

“Education, compassion, persuading people to put on a mask or face covering, or offering a mask are still the first tactics used by enforcement officers in every interaction with a member of the public.

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“If these tactics do not gain compliance, enforcement and fines are considered.”

Read more: Edmonton ups COVID-19 enforcement, praises province for ‘prudent’ extension of restrictions

Edmonton enforcement officers, Edmonton Fire Rescue and partners from Alberta Health Services, the Edmonton Police Service and Occupational Health and Safety have teamed up to create the Health Safety Compliance Team.

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More peace officers to enforce COVID-19 restrictions as Alberta records 1.2K new cases – Nov 27, 2020

“The city’s enforcement officers work jointly with this team to evaluate and respond to citizen complaints related to public health restrictions that come in from 311, online systems and other channels,” the city said.

Read more: Alberta at standoff with Edmonton-area church over COVID rules; Dr. Hinshaw says she can’t intervene

Citizens can submit a face-covering bylaw complaint or physical distancing concern online here. To report concerns related to public health orders issued by Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, call 1-833-415-9179 or use this online form.

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City of Edmonton enforcement numbers are also shared on this public dashboard.

On Tuesday, Alberta confirmed 268 new cases of COVID-19 out of 7,900 tests. The province’s positivity rate was 3.5 per cent.

There were 556 Albertans in hospital, including 97 in intensive care units. Thirteen additional deaths were reported.

As of Tuesday, 107,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered and 17,000 Albertans are fully immunized, having received both doses.