Banff makes masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces and outdoors along Banff Avenue
BANFF, ALTA. -- Banff town council has passed a bylaw requiring face masks for everyone in all indoor public spaces, public transit and outdoors in the 100 and 200 blocks of Banff Ave.
The mask requirement includes outdoor restaurant and cafe seating within the specified pedestrian zone when people are not eating or drinking.
The bylaw comes into effect at noon on July 31. Like Calgary, Banff’s bylaw excludes mandated masks at schools, day cares, hospitals and on school buses.
There are also exceptions for children under two, people with underlying health conditions and people working out or playing sports.
The unanimous decision came Monday afternoon with council saying the move was needed due to increased visitors and current COVID-19 case numbers in Alberta.
As of Monday afternoon, Banff reported eight active cases of COVID-19, officials say. More than 20,000 people visited Banff each of the last three weekends, the mayor says.
Businesses and operators will have to post adequate signage informing people of the mask mandate and have to make hand sanitizer available at all public entrances.
A $150 fine could be issued to someone who fails to wear a mask or a business operator who does not post adequate signage.
“I hoped that the province would move forward with a mandate province-wide, but they haven’t,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen.
“We are prepared to step up and put these bylaws into place,” Sorensen said, adding she’s hopeful more southern Alberta municipalities make masks mandatory to establish a “regional approach” to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The provincial government provided the town with thousands of free non-medical masks to hand out to visitors. Banff’s safety ambassadors distributed 6,600 free masks this past weekend alone.
The motion comes the week after Calgary and Edmonton introduced mask mandates. Lethbridge, Okotoks and Airdrie are all set to have a discussion about mandatory masks in the coming days.
There’s no set date for when Banff’s temporary bylaw will end.