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More Alberta towns and cities debate mandatory masks

FILE - Packages of face masks on April 29, 2020. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – To mandate or not to mandate a mask? That’s the question many Alberta communities are pondering this week.

Following decisions from Calgary and Edmonton to make mask-wearing mandatory for indoor public spaces, other municipalities are either following suit or seriously considering the move.

On Tuesday, Airdrie City Council will meet to discuss the possibility of introducing a bylaw to mandate masks.

Mayor Peter Brown said people in the city are very engaged on this issue.

“Personally, I’ve received over 600 emails, texts, and phone calls on this topic. I can tell you the numbers are almost spot on, dead even, for and against.”
Brown added that right now, he’s undecided on the matter.

“I can tell you that I’m going to measure all the information and then make a decision once the meeting’s wrapped up and everyone’s has an opportunity to provide input.”

WATCH: Mandating masks on city council agendas through Alberta this week

The Town of Banff recently passed a bylaw requiring masks in indoor spaces and in the pedestrian zone along Banff Ave.

Mayor Karen Sorensen said an overwhelming number of residents and business owners wanted to see this bylaw passed.

“When it is a decision that even I’m unsure of and sometimes I’m actually sitting at the table unsure of which way to go, these are always my filters: will it benefit the community as a whole? The answer is clearly ‘yes’ in this instance.”

RELATED: Mask wearing in Banff mandatory as of Friday

Lethbridge passed a similar bylaw requiring masks for anyone using its transit service.

Meanwhile, the town of Okotoks voted on Monday to not mandate masks at this time.

Town council will revisit the idea at its next meeting in mid-August.

Although masks are not mandatory in Alberta, the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw strongly recommends people wear them whenever physical distancing isn’t possible.

Nova Scotia and Quebec are the only provinces to have mandated masks province-wide.