IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT in the interests of all Albertans’ health and keeping Alberta’s economy open, the AUMA advocate to the Government of Alberta for a province-wide requirement for wearing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta.
WHEREAS Public Health is a responsibility of the Government of Alberta;
WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has the required expertise to provide direction on mask wearing in public;
WHEREAS in the absence of direction from the Government of Alberta, municipalities throughout Alberta are left to their own devices to determine what the best precautions are that their respective municipalities need to take in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS while the Chief Medical Officer of Health has noted masks as being critically important in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19, as well, has repeated on numerous occasions, the call for Albertans to wear masks in public; and
WHEREAS while Albertans have done well flattening the curve, especially compared to other jurisdictions, we’re also seeing in some places like New Zealand, masks having a positive effect in preventing or reducing the spread of COVID-19, when combined with physical distancing, self-isolation, regular hand-washing and other measures.
While we all have an active role to play, Public Health is a provincial responsibility and the Government of Alberta has access to the best and most up-to-date provincial, national and international scientific information, data, and expertise, that is not readily available to municipalities. However, in the absence of provincial direction, many Alberta municipalities have been left on their own to determine how to proceed, including adopting mask wearing bylaws, to taking no action.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, provincial Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, have both noted face coverings are critically important in helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 and have repeatedly urged people to wear them in public. A province-wide approach to face coverings would not only provide more clarity and consistency for Albertans, it would also be more effective and enforceable, as witness to the measures taken during Phase 1 of the Pandemic.
At the same time, some municipalities may not necessarily take the position that a “one size fits all” approach would be reasonable considering the vast differences in infection rates across Alberta. Again, the Government of Alberta has the expertise in place to determine appropriate thresholds for the triggering of mandatory face coverings in a community or region. Barring direct provincial action, the members of the AUMA would ask that your government at least establish guidelines for municipalities to enact.
Alberta has done well flattening the curve, especially compared to most other jurisdictions, and this is in large part to the effective decisions and advice from Provincial officials that municipalities and Albertans have heard and followed. As we're seeing in places where face covering protocols like Spain, France, Vietnam, New Zealand, and many others, have been implemented, they can be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 when combined with other measures. In the interests of our citizens' health and keeping Alberta's economy open, please consider the request of the members of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.
During AUMA's 2020 Annual Convention, this resolution did not receive the sufficient number of votes cast to be accepted for consideration as an emergent resolution.