Mixed reaction to Edmonton’s mandatory mask bylaw on Day 1

Edmonton’s mandatory face mask bylaw took effect Saturday.

The bylaw is meant to help lower the spread of COVID-19 and it’s a change many are adjusting to.

The crowd inside Kelly’s Pub in downtown Edmonton was thrilled to once again watch some NHL hockey but catching the big game this time was different.

“Today’s a weird day with the first day of mandatory masks so we’re not quite sure how people are going to feel,” Scott Krebes with Kelly’s Pub said.

Read more: COVID-19: Here’s where you have to wear a mask in Alberta

The city’s temporary face coverings bylaw mandates that masks must be worn inside public places and in public vehicles.

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However, there are a number of exceptions to the bylaw, including those under the age of two, those who cannot put on and take off the mask without assistance and those with mental or physical concerns or limitations.

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Exemptions to the bylaw also apply to those in schools, hospitals and health-care facilities, child-care facilities, employee-only spaces where physical barriers have been installed between employees and for patrons going out to eat at a restaurant.

Read more: Face masks are mandatory for Edmonton kids over 2. How can they be made comfortable?

“People can come in, take their mask off when they’re eating and drinking, but when they’re going to the washroom, they have to put their mask on… It’s a learning process for all of us, I think,” Krebes said.

“It’s mandated now so I don’t have a choice. If I want to come to an establishment like this, I’m going to wear the mask,” customer April Bedard-Smith said.

“I don’t mind it. I think it might help. It might not. I’m not sure,” customer Johnny Smith said.

Read more: Edmonton city council passes bylaw to mandate masks in all indoor public spaces

While Edmontonians try to get accustomed to wearing masks inside, people outdoors are also trying to adjust to this new normal.

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“It will be difficult. We’re kind of a culture that hasn’t needed to wear masks so it’s a pretty new thing for a lot of people, but by in large, even looking around, there’s a lot of people even doing it outside,” said Shawn Devries, who was shopping at an outdoor farmers’ market.

“I think it’s going to take most people time to get used to it. We’ve been doing it pretty much since this all happened, so maybe not as big a transition for us,” outdoor farmers’ market shopper Carol Bond said.

The fine for not complying with the mask bylaw is $100.

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