EDMONTON -- Edmonton’s city council has voted to extend the city’s mask bylaw until Dec. 31, 2021.

The bylaw requires the use of face coverings in all indoor public places and vehicles.

Face coverings became mandatory on Aug. 1, and the bylaw was originally intended to go until Dec. 31, 2020, but in light of the increasing daily cases and the lack of action on the part of the provincial government, the city felt the need to extend it.

Masks can be removed while consuming food in a designated space, while engaged in water activities or physical exercise, or in places where physical barriers have been installed.

People who can’t put on or remove a mask without assistance, children under the age of two, and those with disabilities protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act, as well as people providing care to a person with a disability who would be affected by a face covering are exempt from the bylaw.

In Edmonton’s case, public vehicles refers to buses, LRT trains, taxis or other vehicles for hire.

The fine for failing to comply with the mask bylaw is $100.

City officials said 97 per cent of Edmontonians have been complying with the bylaw; however, there were 1,100 complaints about people not obeying the bylaw, 1,600 warnings issued by peace officers, and four people were ticketed.

And those who are against wearing masks have been vocal in their opposition. At a public hearing last Friday, more than 100 people registered to speak with most of them opposed.

“We’ve also heard overwhelmingly from Edmontonians in our inboxes who have said, ‘No, keep the bylaw,’ it is one of the things giving them hope and a sense of security,” said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.

The only councillor to vote against the bylaw extension was Mike Nickel.

“I think the 12-1 vote today shows that science and the will of the people is winning today, as it generally does at City Hall,” Iveson said.

The city has the option to repeal the bylaw at any time.