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Find information, and answers to your questions and those of your clients and patrons in our toolkit for businesses and operators of public facilities

As someone who operates a public-facing business or public facility, this means that anyone who enters your business, and your staff when in those spaces (unless separated by a barrier), must wear a mask or face covering.

Downloadable Posters

Need a sign about the bylaw for the door of your business or service? Download them here:

Masks Are Required Here

for curbside pickup

Masks Are Required Here

for private appointments

Wear a Mask

11x17 

Wear a Mask

8.5x11

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Is a business owner/operator required to enforce the mask bylaw in their place of business?

It’s up to your business to decide if you wish to enforce mask wearing in your premises. As part of the community effort we encourage you to help educate on the requirement for masks if you choose.

You and your employees are not expected to enforce the bylaw or to have negative interactions with customers. If a customer becomes confrontational, call 911.

Proof is not required if someone claims an exception. Business owners may also sell or provide masks to customers if they choose.

What is the reason for the Face Covering bylaw?

With businesses reopening, more social interactions occurring and the number of cases increasing in Edmonton, these additional measures will better mitigate a potential resurgence of COVID-19 that is being experienced around the world.

We know that navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for local businesses and a second wave may disrupt your business and an already challenged economy. The bylaw was informed by feedback from members of the local business community and City of Edmonton operations.

Studies show that wearing a mask can reduce the spread of infectious droplets to someone else and potential contamination of the environment by these droplets. The more people wearing masks, the more likely we are to prevent the spread of the virus and keep our economy functioning and your business operating.
 

Where are people required to wear a face covering?

An indoor public place is any enclosed space to which the public has access including:

  • Retail stores
  • Entertainment venues
  • Recreation centres
  • Transit stations
  • Places of worship and religious and cultural gatherings
  • Hotels
  • Public vehicles including buses and LRT
  • Taxis and vehicles for hire like Uber

The general rule is, if the public does not have access to it, it will be exempt under the bylaw.
 

What is a face covering?

A face covering means any medical or non-medical mask or other face covering that fully covers the nose, mouth, and chin which prevents the spread of respiratory droplets. A face covering can include a cloth face covering like a homemade mask, scarf or a bandana. Note that a plastic face shield is not considered adequate protection unless it wraps around the face and underneath the chin.

Who doesn’t have to wear a mask or face covering?

We understand that not everyone is able to wear a mask or face covering, so we ask everyone to be kind to those unable to do so. Therefore some exemptions apply:

  • Children under 2 
  • Those who are unable to place, use, or remove a face covering without assistance
  • Those with mental or physical concerns or limitations, or any other protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act, that prevent them from wearing a face covering 
  • Eating or drinking while seated in designated spaces or as part of a religious or spiritual ceremony 
  • Engaging in water activities or physical exercise
  • Providing assistance or care to someone with a disability who would be hindered if the caregiver is wearing a face covering
  • Engaging in services that require removal of the face covering (for example, having a passport photo taken or dental work, or personal care services involving the face)

The bylaw is in effect until December 31, 2020, unless it is repealed by City Council before then.

Are any places exempt from asking people to wear masks?

The bylaw excludes: 

  • Schools
  • Health care facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Child care facilities
  • Employee-only spaces where physical barriers have been installed between the employee and patrons
  • Condominium/apartment indoor shared spaces are not considered accessible to the public and are therefore exempt  
Will the other public health measures still need to be in place?

All other public health measures, as listed below, and those in place for each work area, will still need to be adhered to regardless if people are wearing a face covering or not. Face coverings are an added layer of protection to help us re-commit to public health measures and protect the safety of others.

  • Maintain 2 metre physical distance
  • Stay home if feeling sick 
  • Sanitize high-touch areas frequently
  • Wash and sanitize hands regularly

Other Questions Your Staff and Customers Might Have

What if a customer doesn’t want to wear a mask?

It’s up to your business to decide if you wish to enforce mask wearing in your premises. As part of the community effort we encourage you to help educate on the requirement for masks if you choose.  You and your employees are not expected to enforce the bylaw or to have negative interactions with customers. If a customer becomes confrontational, call 911. Proof is not required if someone claims an exemption.

Business owners may also sell or provide masks to customers if they choose.
 

Will the City be enforcing the face covering bylaw?

The focus of this bylaw is on education first, with enforcement as a last resort option to be deployed only as needed. The approach is largely around communication and education for the public to better understand that wearing face coverings is the right thing to do.
 

What is the difference between a face covering, a mask and a face shield?

A face covering is typically a handmade or manufactured mask, bandana or scarf made of cotton or similar fabrics. 

A mask is a medical-grade or non-medical grade disposable face mask (also known as a surgical or procedure mask) that has been subject to testing and design standards to ensure they perform as intended. 

A face shield typically does not provide adequate protection from the periphery (sides) and cannot be used as an alternative to a non-medical mask when physical distancing cannot be achieved, unless it wraps around the face and underneath the chin.

Do face coverings need to be worn in places of worship?

Places of worship are included in the bylaw as they are enclosed buildings that members of the public have access to. Those attending places of worship are permitted to temporarily remove their face covering for eating or drinking, such as to receive communion.

With regard to the stage areas in places of worship, if this space is only accessible to those leading worship or preaching and you have implemented physical barriers or distancing practices between every person that will not be wearing a face covering and any other person, face coverings may be removed in this area. However, if these physical controls are not in place face coverings will be required.

Do my patrons have to wear masks if we can achieve physical distancing?

Yes, your patrons must wear masks even if your business achieves physical distancing. Physical distancing in indoor public spaces is inconsistent and unpredictable and part of why this temporary bylaw is necessary.

Does the bylaw apply to shared spaces in residential condominium buildings, for example hallways, elevators and amenity spaces?

The general rule is, if the public does not have access to it, it will be exempt under the bylaw. Condominium building indoor shared spaces are not considered accessible to the public, therefore they would be exempt.

What is the protocol for #Airbnb hosts who live in the home they host guests in? Technically accessible to the public though only for registered guests. Do guests need to wear masks? Will I need to wear a mask in my own home?

As private residences are not generally accessible to the public the bylaw would not apply. Property owners may determine their own requirements within their own homes.

Does the bylaw apply to community leagues? For example, community league board meetings and events in community league amenity buildings and halls?

If the community league building is being accessed by staff only and no public will be present, masks are not required. If the league is hosting a public event, or if a league board meeting is open to the public, masks are required.

Why didn’t the City just do more to educate people about masks rather than pass this bylaw?

The City has worked to educate Edmontonians on the need for face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Having the majority of people wearing masks is critical to flattening the curve of COVID-19.

Will the City provide masks?

Not at this time, but if that changes, we will make an announcement. 

  • In June and July, the City supplied more than 1 million masks at transit centres and LRT stations as part of the Government of Alberta's mask distribution plan
  • Masks can now be purchased at most grocery and retail stores, as well as farmers’ markets
  • If using reusable face coverings, please be sure to wash them after use in accordance with Alberta Health guidance
Do restaurant patrons have to wear a mask or face covering when they are being escorted to their table by restaurant staff, ordering their food/drink, or traveling to/from the washroom (that is, not actively eating or drinking)?

Unless exempt for another reason, people are exempt from wearing a face covering when they are actively consuming food or drink in a designated seating area of an indoor restaurant or food court. In a restaurant context, staff should be wearing face coverings at all times in publicly-accessible areas, and customers should wear face coverings when entering the restaurant, waiting to be seated or while walking to a table, and when leaving their table to use the washroom or after their meal. Face coverings may be removed when seated at a table where distancing is maintained. Face coverings are not required on fully outdoor restaurant patios, provided physical distancing measures are in place and face coverings are worn if the access to the patio requires customers to travel through the indoor restaurant space. Face coverings must also be worn if the patio area is enclosed.

Messages To Use With Your Customers/Patrons

Why do I have to wear a face covering?

Covering your nose and mouth with a mask or face covering helps reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Wearing the face covering doesn’t just help to protect you, it protects our employees and our other customers, especially those who have pre-existing health conditions.

I prefer not to wear a face covering.

Although you may prefer to not wear a covering in public, in order to enter this business, a face covering is required unless you meet the exemptions listed. Exemptions can be found at edmonton.ca/masks.

I have an exemption and am not required to wear a face covering.

Thank you for letting me know. Enjoy your visit. 

Why isn’t that person wearing a face covering?

I cannot speak to that particular person’s circumstances but there are some exemptions to the bylaw. You can find out more at edmonton.ca/masks.

What kind of face covering do you accept?

We’re happy for you to wear a scarf, a bandana, a homemade mask or a medical grade mask. Please make sure it covers your nose, mouth and chin.

If you want me to wear a mask you should provide one to me for free.

Our business is not able to (and not required to) provide masks to every customer. We ask that customers provide their own face covering and put it on before entering this premises.

Download the following sign from edmonton.ca/masks.

Thumbnail image of the "Wear a Mask" poster.
 

Personal Protective Equipment Suppliers for Business.

The City is taking immediate steps to support business owners, including working on specific actions that align with the Federal and Provincial plans.

COVID-19 Bylaw Complaints

The City of Edmonton is taking bylaw complaints on concerns related to COVID-19. (eg. Face Coverings)

Physical Distancing Concern

The City of Edmonton is taking complaints on physical distancing concerns related to COVID-19

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