City of Airdrie enacts mandatory mask bylaw as city reaches enhanced status

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by iStock

It is now mandatory to wear face masks in all indoor public spaces in the city of Airdrie.

On Nov. 6 in a press conference, Premier Jason Kenney announced communities in Alberta – including Airdrie – that were listed under the COVID-19 Watch status are being elevated to an Enhanced status.

This shift in status triggered the City of Airdrie’s Mandatory Face Covering Bylaw and also puts Airdrie under a provincial restriction of a 15-person maximum for social gatherings.

“As you may have heard from Dr. Hinshaw, the voluntarily measures we strongly encouraged people to comply with have not been enough and Airdrie’s case counts have risen dramatically,” says Mayor Peter Brown.

“So, under the guidance of the experts, we are enacting the mandatory face covering bylaw.”

Mandatory Masks

Masks are now mandatory in all indoor public spaces. This excludes any premises for which there is an enrolment or membership requirement in order to access it, for example: schools and daycares. The rule of thumb is: if the public does not have access to it, it will be exempt under the bylaw.

Masks are now mandatory in all public vehicles unless the person is separated from other person by an installed screen shield or other barrier.

Exemptions to the face covering bylaw include:

  • Children under years old
  • Persons with underlying medical conditions or disability that inhibits their ability to wear a face covering
  • Persons who are unable to place or remove a face covering safely without assistance
  • Persons who are seated at a table or bar at a public premise that offers food or beverage services
  • Persons engaging in an athletic or fitness activity
  • Persons who are caregiving for or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder the accommodation of the person’s disability
  • Person who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service or at the request of an operator or proprietor for security purposes

“Personal accountability is critical right now,” says Brown.

“Regardless of whether or not you believe masks work, masks are one component of staying healthy as are staying vigilant on hand hygiene, social distancing, and keeping your cohorts small. Now, more than ever, I urge you to be accountable for your health, keep our community safe and be a good neighbour.”

According to the City’s website, the mandatory face coverings requirement will remain in effect until 14 days after the Enhanced designation is removed by the Province.

Other Mandatory Restrictions

In addition to the requirement of mandatory masks in public places, Airdrie is also under another mandatory restriction.

Social and family gatherings are set to a maximum of 15 people where there is mixing and mingling. This includes parties, special event celebrations, retirement parties, baby showers, wedding and funeral receptions, and banquets.

This restriction does not apply to structured events like restaurant dining, worship services, wedding ceremonies, conferences, seated audience sports/shows, fitness centres or funeral services.

Most of these events will still have a 100-person limit because they are structured so that people are seated for the duration and can space out so that they are socially distanced.

Voluntary Restrictions

Airdrie residents are being asked to voluntarily restrict the following:

  • Limit each individual to no more than three cohorts (a core/household cohort, a school cohort, and one additional sport, social or other cohort).
  • Young children who attend childcare may be part of four cohorts, as childcare cohorts have not been seen to be a high-risk context for spread.
  • Wear a mask in all indoor work settings, except when alone in a workspace like an office or cubicle where you are safely distanced from others, or an appropriate barrier is in place.

For more information, click here.