Alberta giving out 20M more masks, not mandatory to wear them
There will be wide distribution through fast-food chains, municipal transit, places of worship, long-term care and seniors facilities, and other places
EDMONTON — The Alberta government is giving out 20 million more masks to help stem the spread of COVID-19, but Premier Jason Kenney says it’s not necessary to make face covers mandatory.
In June, the province began distributing non-medical masks through A&W, McDonald’s and Tim Hortons drive-thrus.
In the latest batch, nine million masks are to be given out through the fast-food chains, both at counters and drive-thrus, and in packages of eight instead of four.
Four million are to be distributed through municipal transit and 2.5 million have been given to places of worship.
The rest are being doled out at long-term care and seniors facilities, First Nations and Metis settlements, courthouses and other places.
Alberta health officials are encouraging everyone to wear non-medical masks in public when it’s not possible to maintain two metres of physical distancing, especially indoors.
“We all have a role to play in this fight. We all have a personal responsibility as Albertans, parents, friends and neighbours to do the right thing and follow the public health guidance,” Kenney said Monday.
“Masking is a crucial part of this guidance.”
He said he’s frequently asked about making masks mandatory. Quoting the province’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Kenney said: “We can’t enforce our way out of the pandemic.
“The vast majority of Albertans, I don’t think, need to be told to do the right thing,” he added.
Kenney said Alberta had 676 known active COVID-19 cases as of July 12. There were 45 people with the virus in hospital, including 10 in intensive care.
Hinshaw added that Alberta reported 54 new cases on July 10, 96 new cases on July 11, and 80 new cases on July 12. There are more cases with unknown sources than there were a week ago.
By Lauren Krugel