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LETTER: Questions on mandatory mask exemptions

"If 'a mask mandate is no different from requirements to wear seatbelts or bike helmets,' how can there be exceptions?"
letter-sta

Is the new mandatory mask bylaw in St. Albert really about protecting ALL the residents of St. Albert?

Whether you like or dislike mask use, here are some points to ponder and questions I’d like answered for all St. Albert citizens, from Mayor Cathy Heron and city council members.

The headline on the Aug. 4 Gazette article reads, "Masks mandated in public indoor spaces in St. Albert." EXCEPT? ...

If I choose to eat in a restaurant, drink in a bar, swim in a public indoor pool, exercise indoors in a public facility or perform on a public indoor stage, I am exempt from the mandate of mandatory masks and can’t be fined. However, if I choose to go shopping for merchandise or groceries, it's mandatory I wear a mask or be fined. Coun. Jacquie Hansen said we need "protection against this deadly virus." If it's so deadly, please explain to me how some of these indoor public facilities are any safer than the others? How does COVID-19 know it can’t contaminate me or spread to others in some public indoor spaces, but it has the go ahead in others?

According to Coun. Ray Watkins' statement, "mask mandates are about trying to protect society, not about rights and freedoms. A mask mandate is no different from requirements to wear seatbelts or bike helmets." Seatbelts and helmets have NO exceptions to the mandate! If "a mask mandate is no different from requirements to wear seatbelts or bike helmets," how can there be exceptions?

As stated by Coun. Ken MacKay, "sometimes the city has to put some pretty aggressive measures in place to prevent something more serious from happening." While I don’t believe a complete shutdown is needed, I do believe the right thing to do, if council is really concerned for all St. Albert citizens, is either the mandatory mask bylaw needs to be in effect in ALL indoor public facilities within St. Albert – no exceptions – or continue how it has been with our personal agency to mask, or not mask, depending on individual concerns for safety and well being.

Thanks for your time in this matter.

Angela Fields, St. Albert