The City of Edmonton released data Tuesday that shows so far in March, only 10 tickets were handed out to people in the city for violating the COVID-19 mask bylaw, and only one person was ticketed in relation to the Public Health Act.
Officials said that city enforcement officers issued 10 tickets and 87 warnings related to the city’s mask bylaw between March 1 and 7.
The city also enforces the Public Health Act, but did not ticket anyone in relation to the act through those dates. There were nine warnings from city officials in relation to the act between March 1 and 7.
Looking back to the summer, between Aug. 1 March 7, the city said it has now issued a total of 363 mask bylaw tickets and 5,794 warnings.
The city said between Nov. 25 and March 7 there have been a total of 30 city-issued Public Health Act tickets.
Police ticketing less
The Edmonton Police Service said it had issued one ticket related to the Public Health Act between Feb. 28 and March 6.
Since Nov. 25, police officers in Edmonton have issued a total of 117 Public Health Act tickets.
In a news release Tuesday, the city said its methods are focused on education over enforcement.
“When officers see someone not wearing a face covering, they will often offer a free mask as a first response,” the city said. “If these tactics do not work, enforcement and fines are considered. Enforcement has been ramped up at different phases throughout the pandemic.”
The city had released data the beginning of February that showed increased ticketing — in a one-week period between Jan. 25 and 31, the city issued 409 warnings and 33 tickets regarding Edmonton’s face-covering bylaw.
That means the first week of March has seen nearly 80 per cent less mask bylaw ticketing from city officials when compared to the last week in January.
A new ministerial order was signed on March 4 that extends the authority for peace officers to enforce health orders.
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 a Health Safety Compliance Team for the city.
The latest numbers from the province released Monday showed 1,191 active cases of COVID-19 in the Edmonton zone. A total of 978 Edmontonians have died from the disease since the pandemic began.
City of Edmonton enforcement numbers are also shared on this public dashboard.
–with files from Emily Mertz, Global News