Nenshi is considering a regulation on mandatory masks, here’s what Calgarians should know

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The mayor of Calgary is considering the possibility of making masks mandatory in certain situations and says that he could present a draft by-law to council on July 20.It would be a step closer than the province, which recommends use, but did not seem in a rush to force the problem.

If Calgary took the plunge, it would join three other major Canadian cities to make masks mandatory.

Here are some of the main questions and answers about moving.

What is the science today about wearing masks?

the Public Health Agency of Canada and Alberta Health Recommend wearing a homemade or non-medical mask or face covering when physical distance cannot be maintained, especially in places like shops and public transportation.

Alberta Health says that using non-medical masks has not been proven to protect the wearer, but “it can help protect people from exposure to your germs.”

The two agencies, as well as World Health Organization, say that the use of a mask should not replace other preventive measures such as physical distance and good hygiene.

There is also a risk of self-contamination associated with the use of the mask if it is not worn and handled correctly.

Although Alberta recommends wearing masks under certain conditions, it has refused to mandate the use of masks.

Why is the mayor considering making it mandatory?

Nenshi says the use of indoor masks in Calgary is too low and is one of three things Calgarians can do to reduce the spread of the virus – while keeping distance and good hygiene. He says he is pushing for increased use of masks, but Calgarians do not answer the call, so the city could force the problem. He highlights the lack of masks in transit as a concern.

What can it do and what should the city do to make it mandatory in Calgary?

Nenshi only represents a vote on the board, so he can’t do anything by himself. He said he could present draft regulations to the council, which would have to vote to move forward.

A waitress wears a face mask when serving water to patrons of a Montreal restaurant on Sunday. (Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press)

How would it be applied?

Settlement officers and even the police could impose fines if they find masked people in public places, but it would depend on the details of the settlement.

Calgary municipal bylaws tend to prefer education to enforcement.

Are there any exceptions?

Details will not be known until regulations are made, but exceptions are likely. In Toronto, which has adopted a regulation on mandatory masks, children under the age of two and those suffering from certain health problems are excluded.

The regulation also does not apply to certain spaces, including schools, daycares, common areas for building apartments or condos and restaurant terraces.

What other cities have done this?

If Calgary adopted a by-law on mandatory masks, it would follow in the footsteps of other Canadian cities, including Toronto, Ottawa and, soon, Montreal. Quebec is considering a provincial rule.

And the other countries?

Obviously, this varies from place to place, but Asian countries have a long history of using masks, and citizens can face high fines in places like Singapore for not wearing them.

People wear a face mask when visiting a temple on the seventh day of the Lunar New Year celebration on January 31, 2020, in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Linh Pham / Getty Images)

In the United States, several states have passed mandatory mask laws. Vietnam, Slovakia, the United Arab Emirates and Germany are just a few of the countries that have introduced some form of mandatory use of the mask.

What are the different types of masks and what protection do they offer?

Masks recommended for public use are non-medical, covering mainly the nose and mouth to prevent droplets from escaping and potentially infecting others. This also includes free masks distributed by the province.

There are also medical masks.

N95 masks form a seal on the mouth and nose and are designed to filter out most viruses. Surgical masks do not form a seal and provide a barrier against splashes and droplets.

Both are used primarily by health workers.

What are some common mistakes when wearing a mask?

Do not touch your face or touch the front of the mask. Alberta Health recommends adjusting or removing the mask using the clips or earrings. Even then, wash your hands before putting it on and before removing it.

A face mask is believed to limit the spread of COVID-19. But if it slides under your nose, hovers around your chin, or if you touch the outside with your hands, medical experts say it could be riskier than not wearing it at all. 3:55

The most obvious things to avoid listed on the provincial website include: do not share a mask, do not wear a dirty or wet mask, do not wear a torn mask and do not wear the mask under your chin or under your nose as this kind of undoes the point.

If you wear a disposable mask, be sure to throw it away. If you wear a reusable one, be sure to wash it.

Making these mistakes while wearing a mask can accidentally spread rather than prevent an infection.

Who pays for mandatory masks and why?

Some doctors ask for mandatory masks in Canada, including a group called Masks4Canada. The organization wrote an open letter to the Alberta government recommending that it be used in all public indoor spaces, in crowds, and on public transportation.

Who doesn’t and why?

Others, including the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta, are not as convinced. Again.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw recommended the use of a mask and says the province is keeping an eye on the latest research, but argued that the recommendations are working and warns of concerns about the incorrect use of the mask contributing to infection rather than preventing it.


Are you in a mask? CBC Calgary would love to see what you wear, especially if it stands out. Send us pictures of your masked self to [email protected], via Facebook or on Twitter.

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