Mask bylaw in Edmonton goes to new vote on June 25

The fate of Edmonton’s face covering bylaw will be clearer on June 25, 2021.

A recommendation from Administration to deactivate the bylaw as of July 1 needed the unanimous support of all 13 councillors to go to third reading of a new bylaw, but failed on a vote of 12-1, with Councillor Aaron Paquette voting against. 

“Third reading cannot be considered today because it requires unanimous consent, so, third reading would come back to the next regularly scheduled Council meeting,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

The next City Council meeting had been scheduled for July 5. 

But, late this afternoon, Council decided to meet on Friday, June 25, for another vote on third reading of a new bylaw to deactivate the existing mandatory face covering rule as of July 1.

Provincial decision 

The municipal bylaw, which has been in effect since August 1, 2020, requires people in Edmonton to wear a face covering in all indoor public places and on public vehicles, including the LRT, buses, taxis and other vehicles for hire. 

The Government of Alberta has recently decided that its general provincial order requiring masks to be worn in indoor public places will end on July 1.

According to new provincial rules, however, masks will still be required on buses, in taxis, in ride shares and in some health settings, including continuing care facilities, said City Manager Andre Corbould.

A physically distanced Edmonton City Council considers the future of the face covering bylaw, June 22, 2021

Next vote: June 25

The provincial decision to lift its mask order (with the transit and ride share exceptions) cleared the way for today’s debate at City Hall. 

Administration had recommended that the City follow the province’s and lift its municipal bylaw on July 1, as well. 

That motion passed by a 7-6 vote. And it set the stage for the unanimous vote needed to give three readings on the same day to a new bylaw, which failed. The same vote on June 25  will not require unanimous approval. 

Calgary, others

Edmonton’s decision comes one day after City Council in Calgary decided to keep its mandatory masks bylaw in place until at least July 5.

In the Edmonton region, the following municipalities have decided to remove their mask requirements in line with the provincial decision: Beaumont, Devon, Leduc, Morinville, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Strathcona County and Sturgeon County.

Vaccinations in Edmonton

As of June 19, 2021, 29.5 percent of eligible residents in the Edmonton zone had been fully vaccinated and 72.9 percent had been partially vaccinated, City Council heard.