Posted on Nov 18, 2020


EDMONTON - NDP Leader Rachel Notley is calling on Jason Kenney and the UCP government to implement a mandatory mask policy for all public indoor spaces in all regions on the enhanced list

“The number one way we can protect the most vulnerable is to control community spread,” said Notley. “Rural areas and smaller communities are at higher risk of seeing their hospitals and continuing care centres overwhelmed and their economies hurt if we don’t get COVID-19 cases under control.”

Currently 91 of Alberta’s 142 regions are on the enhanced list, and many do not have mask policies in place including, but not limited to, the City of Medicine Hat, the City of Brooks, the Town of Drumheller, and the City of Cold Lake. 

In Manitoba, the rapid spread of COVID-19 cases in smaller communities saw their hospitals quickly overwhelmed. In one instance, nurses were forced to triage patients in their cars as health care workers struggled to keep up with demand.

“This UCP government has already gone out of their way to undermine health care in rural and remote parts of Alberta. I’m very concerned that if we don’t reduce cases quickly, these centres will be completely overrun,” said Notley. “At the end of the day, it’s a fairly simple thing we can do. Masks reduce community spread and don’t hurt the economy.”

Yesterday, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced a mask mandate for all communities over 5,000. This expands a previous mandatory mask policy for Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert.

“We’re not talking about a province-wide policy here,” said Notley. “But we have a list of regions that are at higher risk and we think it makes sense that there be a consistent rule for all those on that list.”