Calgarians have mixed feelings on whether or not Calgary city council has done the right thing rescinding its mandatory mask bylaw.
Calgary council voted 10-4 in favour on Monday to repeal its mask bylaw. The decision will not come into effect immediately because the vote wasn’t unanimous and it still has to pass a third reading.
“What we saw today was actually a very broad consensus of council, just agreeing on the right way to move forward based on the data,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi about the vote.
City rules still require face masks on public transit, which includes buses, trains, and other shared rides.
The bylaw requiring people to wear face coverings and masks in all indoor public spaces in Calgary has been in effect since Aug. 1, 2020.
Calgarians reached out through Instagram had differing opinions on whether this is the right move for the city.
Some Calgarians believe masks should not be mandatory any further, due to rising numbers of vaccinations and fewer COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
“It should be personal preference. Obviously, if the business owner would like me to wear one, sure. But, I should have the right to choose not to wear one,” said Michelle Rajzyngier, who works as a service advisor at a car mechanic shop. “Especially when everyone has gotten this vaccine.”
Calgary was one of the only cities in Alberta to continue its mask bylaw after July 1, when most other municipalities in the province removed them.
“For those who are younger and have stronger immune systems, I believe you don’t need to wear masks whatsoever,” said Robbi Rose.
However, some are opposed, saying removing mandatory masks in public is an invitation for rising case numbers and even another forced quarantine.
Christian Lebioda, a bartender at National on 8th downtown who has been wearing a mask to work throughout the pandemic, is against the council removing the bylaw.
“With everything being lifted so abruptly and the fact that the 70 per cent is just first doses, I believe there is a high chance of a Delta (variant) wave coming back and putting us back where we started,” he said. “I haven’t had a cold or a flu in two years and that’s been really nice.”
Meanwhile, some immune-compromised members of the community are concerned that removing mandatory mask bylaws is a risky move, and council should wait a little longer.
Waiting another two weeks wouldn’t be the end of the world, said Nicholas Claggett, a channel partner specialist at Absorb Software, who chooses to work from home.
“Despite cases going down I still see the need to look out for my own safety. As a high-risk individual, COVID would have worse effects on me.”