Masks still required on public transit, taxis after July 1 reopening | Calgary Herald

Article content

“The recommendations that have been put forward really are based on protecting people in those very high risk of transmission environments,” she said.

The mandatory face covering bylaw in Calgary covers all publicly accessible indoor spaces, a broad category that also includes stores and building lobbies. There’s a $500 fine for failing to wear a mask in a public indoor space where it’s required.

Hinshaw said Alberta is shifting into a phase of the pandemic where it’s “reasonable” for people to make decisions about their own risks, and how they approach that. Municipalities, she added, may be assessing their own local context.

“The provincial context is what informs the recommendations that I’ve made.”

An Alberta Health spokesperson said there are no specific thresholds for now to remove the mask rules.

COVID numbers continued to decline Tuesday, with just 57 new positive cases identified since Monday, and fewer than 2,000 active cases province-wide. Just 200 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 54 of those people in intensive care.

More than 70 per cent of Albertans 12 and older have now had their first dose of a COVID vaccine, and more than 30 per cent of those eligible have gotten the second shot.

One more person, a man in his 60s in the AHS Central zone, has died.

The rise of the Delta variant also poses a new challenge for managing the pandemic in Alberta. The variant, first identified in India, has been shown to be much more transmissible than any previous variant of concern, and just one vaccine in the two-dose regimen doesn’t provide as much protection against it compared to other strains of the virus that causes COVID.

After vaccination, experts say the body requires about two weeks to develop antibodies to protect against the virus.

The Alberta Health Services Calgary zone has seen 483 of the 559 Delta variant cases identified in Alberta so far.

More to come…