Beginning Aug. 4 when Lethbridge Transit resumes its regular routes and fares, the City of Lethbridge will require riders to wear face coverings in order to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
City Council voted unanimously on Monday to introduce this requirement. Riders are encouraged to bring their own face coverings, but for those who do not have one, free masks will be provided.
Council also voted 8-1 in favour of asking the City Manager to implement mandatory masks in public areas of all City of Lethbridge facilities as soon as practicable, and be directed to prepare appropriate legislation, no later than Aug. 10, mandating the mandatory use of masks city-wide should it be required.
"The number of active COVID-19 cases in the City of Lethbridge has increased significantly in the past 10 days," says Mayor Chris Spearman, who co-sponsored the motion with Councillor Jeff Carlson.
"It is our common desire to sustain the local economy and support businesses in the City of Lethbridge. The wearing of masks has been shown to be an effective means of slowing community transmission of COVID-19. We strongly encourage all residents to wear masks in public. First and foremost, we want to educate our residents about the importance of face coverings," says Spearman.
The City of Calgary has implemented a bylaw requiring the wearing of face coverings in all indoor public premises. Lethbridge City Council may discuss a similar temporary bylaw, for municipal purposes, respecting the safety, health and welfare of people, should the local numbers keep escalating.
All levels of government continue to have a role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 will help keep businesses open and the public as safe as possible.
Businesses may also choose to create and enforce their own policies in regards to mandatory face coverings.