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Companies ready as masks are mandatory in Calgary, Edmonton

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Amanda Stephenson • • Calgary Herald

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August 01, 2020 • • August 1, 2020 • • Read for 4 minutes • • 63 comments A sign on the door of Vine Arts Wine and Spirits on 17th Avenue SW indicates the city’s new Mask Statute, which went into effect Friday. Photo by Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia

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Calgary business owners and landlords have posted the necessary signage on their properties in recent days in preparation for the mask-wearing laws that went into effect on Saturday in Alberta’s two largest cities.

The Calgary Statute requires the wearing of masks or face coverings in all indoor spaces to which the public has access, including retail stores, shopping malls, leisure centers, churches, and public common areas in office buildings. There will be a $ 50 fine for non-compliance. A similar statute in Edmonton carries a fine of $ 100.

The rules do not apply to schools, private work areas, or private homes. People do not need to wear masks when engaging in a fitness activity or when eating or drinking in a restaurant.

Kala & Lime, a Calgary home and gift boutique in Aspen Landing, has been showing signs of the upcoming statute for several days. Owner Theresa Ransom said she had very few concerns as most of her customers in the store consistently followed other health recommendations like social distancing and hand sanitizing.

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“At least 90 percent of our customers are already wearing masks and have done so in the past two weeks,” Ransom said on Friday. “I actually think that this (statute) brings a general level of comfort. Now everyone is on the same playing field; We all have the same expectations and the rules are clear. “

Entrepreneurs are not obliged to monitor the wearing of masks or to refuse to service persons who do not have them. Some people are exempt from the mask requirement, including those with underlying medical conditions or disabilities that make it impossible to wear.

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If business owners had been asked to force their customers to wear masks, it would have been a problem, said Keyli Kosiorek, Alberta policy analyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. But it looks like most small businesses are okay with the new statute.

“Entrepreneurs are pretty sure we all share the responsibility to smooth the curve and reduce the spread of COVID,” Kosiorek said. “While policy can have an impact on small businesses, it is far preferable to another round of small business community shutdowns – especially when we face a second wave as cases have increased in Alberta.”

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On Thursday, the chief health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, 113 new cases of the novel coronavirus. For the eleventh time in the past two weeks, Alberta reported a three-digit one-day increase in infections. On Friday that number rose by 127 new cases.

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The nationwide surge in cases has also resulted in the city of Banff having to use masks both indoors and outdoors on two blocks of Banff Avenue. Other communities, including Cochrane and Okotoks, have chosen not to wear masks at the moment, but have announced they will as the number of local cases increases.

The City of Calgary will provide free, disposable face covers in a number of locations across Calgary as part of an Alberta government-sponsored face-cover allocation. The next 500,000 will be available starting August 1st.

“We have several locations in Calgary where you can pick up some free face coverings,” Susan Henry, assistant director of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, said in a press release. “We recognize that cost and availability can be an obstacle for some. This can help ease the burden for those who do not already have their own face coverings.”

Anna Ng – spokeswoman for Cadillac Fairview, the owner of CF Market Mall and CF Chinook Center – said the company supports the Mask Statute and will have Mall Security and Guest Services monitor its customers for compliance. Both malls are aiming for free masks for shoppers who have forgotten.

A man walks past Sol Optix on 17th Avenue SW, where a mask is placed on a painting behind the window. A man walks past Sol Optix on 17th Avenue SW, where a mask is placed on a painting behind the window. Photo by Azin Ghaffari / Postmedia

“Our goal will be to distribute masks to those who show up without one, but this is based on our ability to keep up with supply and demand,” Ng said in an email.

At Southcentre Mall, beginning Aug. 1, guests will be asked to purchase a mask on arrival if they don’t bring their own, spokeswoman Erica Morgan said.

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“Masks can be bought when guests don’t have one,” Morgan said in an email.

Calgary Transit users will also be required to wear face covers under the new bylaws. However, the transit operators will not refuse boarding for non-compliance, nor will the operators distribute masks to the public while the vehicles are in operation.

“Local 583 applauds the city council’s recent decision to make wearing face-shields mandatory for buses, CTrains and other public facilities in Calgary Transit,” said Mike Mahar, president of the union that represents the city’s transit workers. “However, the wearing of masks has become a contentious issue and our operators are unable to provide any of these functions (enforcement or distribution) safely or effectively.”

The mask policy was left to the cities after Hinshaw and Prime Minister Jason Kenney decided to “strong recommendation”For the use of masks instead of an official mandate. Kenney said earlier this week that the provincial decision not to pass laws related to the passing of laws Masks comes partly from worries about Attention and enforcement in rural communities.

astephenson@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/AmandaMsteph

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