As an additional way to protect the community, ensure businesses can continue to thrive, educate the public and make face coverings in public the social norm, Lethbridge City Council has passed the Temporary Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw on August 24, 2020.
For more information on the City's response to COVID-19 visit
Temporary Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw
In general, this new bylaw states that a person must wear a face covering at all times while in an indoor, enclosed, or substantially enclosed public place or in a public vehicle.
|City of Lethbridge Facilities||City Hall, Galt Museum, Fort Whoop Up, Helen Schuler Nature Centre, Lethbridge Regional Park 'n' Ride Transit Terminal, Lethbridge Airport Terminal, Lethbridge Public Library (Downtown and Crossings branches), ice arenas, swimming pools.|
|Public Vehicles||Buses, Access-a-Ride, Taxi, Rideshare Service|
|Public indoor spaces||Malls, grocery stores, retail businesses, churches.|
We understand that there are many different scenarios and situations that might limit someone's ability to wear a face covering and several exemptions have been created within the bylaw to address this. Individuals will not be required to show proof of their exemption and businesses will not be expected to deny service to anyone because of this. We ask that everyone be respectful of their fellow residents and understand that there will be situations where masks are not required.
> Proof not required for exemptions to Bylaw 6239
- A person under the age of 2;
- persons unable to place, use, or remove a face covering without assistance;
- persons unable to wear a face covering by reason of an underlying medical condition or disability or other protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act;
- persons consuming food or drink in designated areas or as part of a religious or spiritual ceremony;
- persons engaged in aquatic activities or physical exercise;
- persons providing care or assistance to a person with a disability where a face covering would hinder that caregiving or assistance;
- persons engaging in services that require the temporary removal of a face covering;
- a person who is sleeping or in bed at a homeless shelter,
- A child who is older than two (2) years of age but is younger than five (5) years of age chronologically or developmentally and who refuses to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver.
- An individual leading in worship, provided physical distancing of at least two metres is possible.
The City of Lethbridge bylaw does not apply to:
- Schools and other educational facilities
- Hospitals and health care facilities
- Child care facilities
- Areas exclusively accessed or used by the public place's employees or a public vehicle operator provided that physical barriers or physical distancing practices are implemented between any person not required to wear a face covering by operation of this exception and any other person
Information for Businesses
To help our business community manage the changes outlined in the new Temporary Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw and answer some frequently asked questions, a
Guide for Businesses is available.
The City of Lethbridge's focus will be on education and encouraging residents to wear a face covering as an additional method of helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This will ensure we can continue to safely reopen our City to the events and activities we enjoy.
We hope that the community will follow this guidance and we can avoid having to ticket however, violations to this bylaw could result in a $100 fine.
FAQ for Public
On Monday, July 28, City Council decided:
- Face coverings will be mandatory on Lethbridge Transit starting Aug 4.
- Face coverings will be mandatory in City of Lethbridge facilities Aug 7.
- Temporary Mandatory Mask Bylaw as an additional step to help protect our community starting Aug. 24
The wearing of face coverings is an additional way in which we can protect the health and wellbeing of our community. By keeping our COVID-19 cases low, we can keep our businesses open and our economy moving forward. As kids return to school and the cold weather heads our way, we'll see more people together indoors. Wearing a face covering will help us limit any transmission of COVID 19. It's important that we remain vigilant to protect against a second wave.
- Lethbridge Transit – August 4
- City Facilities – August 7
- City-wide – August 24
- City Hall
- Galt Museum
- Fort Whoop Up
- Helen Schuler Nature Centre
- Lethbridge Regional Park 'n' Ride Transit Terminal
- Lethbridge Airport Terminal
- Lethbridge Public Library (Downtown and Crossings branches)
- Ice arenas
In addition, the City is working with the facility operators in other City owned buildings to align with this direction. This includes locations such as swimming pools, Casa, Lethbridge Animal Shelter, Multicultural Centre and the Cor Van Raay YMCA.
Anyone engaged in aquatic activities or physical exercise is exempt from wearing a face covering during the activity.
Face coverings are required to be worn in all public areas of the pool facility.
The motions passed by council are specific to indoor spaces however, as per the Alberta Government’s recommendations, masks should be worn at any time that social distancing cannot be maintained.
The City of Lethbridge has a limited supply of disposable masks that will be available on buses and at City facilities if required but residents are asked to bring their own personal face covering with them if at all possible.
Some mask exemptions will be allowed, including:
- Children under 2
- People with underlying medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from safely wearing a face covering and those who cannot wear or remove one without assistance
- People eating or drinking inside public spaces that offer food or beverages
- People who are exercising or engaging in athletic activities
- Caregivers or those accompanying someone with a disability
- People who need to temporarily remove their face covering to provide or receive a service
Our primary focus with the Temporary Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw is to educate residents on the importance of wearing face coverings in indoor public spaces and public vehicles, rather than enforcement.
There may be reasons why someone might be exempt from wearing a mask and that is OK. In times of crisis, we have to be understanding and non-judgmental. It's about taking responsibility for your own actions and wearing a mask unless you are unable to do so. By doing the right thing, you will help businesses stay open and help prevent a potential resurgence of COVID-19.
We also understand this issue has created differing opinions in our community and encourage our citizens to be respectful of one another's viewpoints.
Escalation with violent behavior
As with any situation, if you feel threatened or encounter violent behaviour, please call 911.
Transit Drivers will ask all riders to wear a mask and provide masks if they have not brought one with them.
For the safety of the drivers and riders, anyone refusing to wear a mask will be addressed by a Transit supervisor at a subsequent stop.
City-wide mandatory masking would introduce a temporary bylaw to expand required masking from the current Lethbridge Transit and City of Lethbridge facilities to also include public indoor spaces like malls, grocery stores, retail businesses and churches.
The World Health Organization (WHO), Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta continue to strongly recommend the wearing of face coverings to limit the spread of COVID-19 where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
This video from Alberta Health Services explains how masks help limit the spread:
Yes. All City staff must wear a face covering if they are working in public spaces without protective barriers
and/or in areas where social distancing can’t be maintained.