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Lethbridge masking bylaw extended to April 30

LETHBRIDGE, AB – Lethbridge’s temporary face-covering bylaw has been extended, going against a recent Council committee recommendation.

City Council on Tuesday voted 6-3 to extend the municipality’s bylaw to at least April 30th.

Council also voted for Administration to prepare an amending Bylaw to harmonize the City of Lethbridge Bylaw exemptions with the Chief Medical Officer of Health Order exemptions.

Bylaw 6239, which was enacted on August 24, 2020, states that a face covering must be worn at all times while in an indoor, enclosed, or substantially enclosed public place or in a public vehicle. This includes places like malls, grocery stores, retail businesses, churches, taxi and ridesharing businesses. On December 8, 2020, the Province of Alberta enacted a province-wide mandatory mask requirement – which is also still in effect.

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In addition, the Lethbridge bylaw also requires all businesses to post mandatory face-covering signage to help remind patrons of the local face covering bylaw. There are no mandatory signage requirements associated with the provincial mandate.

Mayor Chris Spearman says this extension should not be seen as a duplication or redundancy, but rather as an extra step the City of Lethbridge is taking to ensure its residents continue to keep each other safe.

“We have seen excellent compliance to the face covering bylaw and masks have become the social norm across our city. On behalf of City Council, I applaud those who continue to help protect our community,” says Spearman. “When there is no longer a significant risk to the community, we will look at removing it. Until then, we encourage everyone to comply to the bylaw and follow of the important public health orders and guidelines.”

The Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw 6239 came into effect last August, as the World Health Organization, Chief Public Health Officer for Canada and the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta identified face coverings as a way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

It was originally set to expire Jan. 12, 2021, unless extended by Council resolution. On November 30, 2020, City Council voted 6-3 to extend the Temporary Mandatory Face Coverings Bylaw until February 23, 2021.

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