Starting early next month, those riding a bus in Lethbridge must wear a mask.

After some lengthy debate and a few amendments, City Council unanimously passed a bylaw Monday (July 27) requiring anyone using Lethbridge Transit to wear a face covering as of August 4, 2020.

That’s the same day transit will resume regular routes and fares.

“The number of active COVID-19 cases in the City of Lethbridge has increased significantly in the past 10 days,” says Mayor Chris Spearman, who co-sponsored the motion with Councillor Jeff Carlson.

“It is our common desire to sustain the local economy and support businesses in the City of Lethbridge. The wearing of masks has been shown to be an effective means of slowing community transmission of COVID-19. We strongly encourage all residents to wear masks in public. First and foremost, we want to educate our residents about the importance of face coverings,” says Spearman.

Bus rider in Lethbridge are encouraged to bring their own face coverings, but for those who do not have one, free masks will be provided.

Council also voted 8-1 in favour of asking the City Manager to implement mandatory masks in public areas of all City of Lethbridge facilities as soon as practicable, and be directed to prepare appropriate legislation, no later than Aug. 10, mandating the mandatory use of masks city-wide should it be required.

The decision by Council aims to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The City of Calgary has implemented a bylaw in that city requiring the wearing of face coverings in all indoor public premises. Lethbridge City Council may discuss a similar temporary bylaw, for municipal purposes, respecting the safety, health and welfare of people, should the local numbers keep escalating.

Businesses may also choose to create and enforce their own policies in regards to mandatory face coverings.

(Files from City of Lethbridge)