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'The least we can do': Sohi supports masking as Calgary moves toward ending bylaw

On a day that Calgary councillors voted to end the city's mask mandate at the same time as Alberta, there is still no firm timeline for the same to happen in Edmonton.

On Tuesday, councillors in Calgary voted 13-2 to repeal their bylaw on March 1, as long as Alberta follows through with an announcement to do the same. The province has an exception in its plan that ties masking to hospitalization rates.

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi believes Edmonton isn't ready to ditch masks, even though the city's active case rate was lower than Calgary's in the latest available numbers.

"Moving too fast and too quick on removing COVID protections is risky. We have utilized the mask bylaw very effectively to keep Edmontonians safe," Sohi said.

"It continues to work really well in our local realities."

In December, Edmonton councillors extended the mask bylaw indefinitely but tied it to two triggers for review.

The first trigger is when the province rescinds Alberta's mask requirement, the second is when active COVID-19 cases in the City of Edmonton remain below 100 per 100,000 residents for 28 consecutive days.

Edmonton's active case rate Sunday was 403 per 100,000 and Calgary's rate was 443 per 100,000, although limits to testing capacity and eligibility mean the actual number of cases is higher than what is recorded by the province.

"I will continue to wear it as long as it is necessary to do so," Sohi said of masks.

"I know it's inconvenient, but it's the least we can do to make sure that we are doing whatever we can to stop the virus and also keeping each other safe."

Edmonton City Council continues to get monthly verbal updates on the pandemic situation. Councillors are also able to ask for a discussion on repealing the bylaw whenever they see fit. Top Stories

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