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Premier hopes Calgary, Edmonton will follow province's lead on removing mask mandates

Last Updated Jun 9, 2021 at 12:12 pm MDT

(CITYNEWS/Tony Fera)

EDMONTON – With COVID-19 restrictions due to be loosened in Alberta Thursday–and all restrictions gone in less than a month–there’s still a question about masks

The province will remove its mask mandate in July according to the premier but municipal bylaws may not come off the books as quickly.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says they will be eliminating the bylaw in the summer, but more discussions are needed first.

“I will remind people however that we had a mask mandate long before the province had any guidance regarding masking,” he said when speaking to reporters Tuesday.

RELATED: City will ‘do what’s right’ when it comes to removing mask bylaw, says Nenshi

“As far as I’m concerned we are independent of the province and we will do what’s right for citizens and what’s right for the economy.”

Nenshi says businesses were clamoring for the bylaw as a way to protect their employees, and they will be consulted heavily when planning to cancel it.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson also recently said he’d be considering a cal from local doctors and nurses to keep the mask mandate in place until over 70 per cent of the population has been vaccinated.

Iveson said Tuesday that he’s concerned about lifting masking bylaws in lockstep with the final stage of the Alberta government’s reopening plan.

Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, hopes cities follow the province’s lead this time.

“Well, I would just hope that everyone in the province follows the advice of the chief medical officer whose team proposed our opening plan, and which is a safe plan it will get us to the highest level of population protection in the world for any society that is opened up,” Kenney said Wednesday.

“We’ve been trying to work cooperatively with [cities] over the past 16 months and hope that will continue to be the case.”

Kenney says he will work cooperatively with cities on masking but won’t say if he would directly step in if bylaws stay in place for a few weeks longer.

Both Edmonton and Calgary had mask mandates in place before the province implemented one last year.

-with files from the Candian Press