The City of Edmonton’s Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings bylaw will stay in effect even if the current rate of COVID-19 cases in the city hits a target that had been set by the previous City Council.
For now, there is not a specific date for the bylaw to expire.
Instead, the new City Council has agreed to leave the bylaw in place until they direct otherwise, and consider in December how best to trigger the bylaw being phased out.
“This leaves the face covering bylaw in place regardless of what happens with case rates over the next few days,” said City Manager Andre Corbould.
“As I indicated this morning, the provincial health order also remains in effect and Edmontonians are required to wear masks. Leaving the bylaw in place ensures that the requirement remains even if the province changes its orders.”
The debate about the mask bylaw took place on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, at City Hall in Edmonton as one of the former bylaw’s key provisions—when it would become inactive—was approaching.
In the previous version of the bylaw, one of the triggers to make the bylaw inactive was when the rate of COVID-19 cases in the city fell under 100 cases per 100,000 population for 10 straight days. In a presentation to councillors, Corbould said Edmonton was, as of Nov. 7, at 84 cases per 100,000 population, and had been under the 100-cases mark for five days.
The other way the bylaw would have become inactive was by the passage of time. December 31, 2021, had been established as that deadline.
Now, both the case-rate test and the calendar date have been removed.
Corbould: masking not permanent
At a news conference, Corbould said a Council decision on the future of the bylaw will be discussed next month.
“Council wanted to address the uncertainty promptly, and did so this afternoon by passing amendments,” said Corbould. “The City’s bylaw remains in place.”
Corbould was clear. There is no intention for masking requirements to be permanent. He continued: “In December, we will bring forward bylaw options for triggers that Council may wish to use at some time in the future.”
The City of Edmonton’s face covering bylaw is not the only rule on the books. The Province of Alberta also has in place a public health order that mandates the wearing of masks in public spaces.
COVID-19 by the latest numbers
The mask bylaw maneuvers happened at City Hall on the same day councillors received the latest numbers on the battle against the virus in Edmonton.
102,182: total COVID-19 cases to date in the Edmonton Health Zone
1,421: active cases as of Nov. 7, 2021
4,634: active cases as of Sept. 6, 2021
94: percentage of City of Edmonton employees fully or partially vaccinated
85.3: percentage of Edmontonians 12+ fully vaccinated
81.2: percentage of Albertans 12+ fully vaccinated
1,296: number of people in the Edmonton zone who have died of COVID-19.
Editor’s note: the pic at the top of the post shows Edmonton City Council in session on November 9, 2021. Here’s the news conference at the end of the day: