Some exemptions for religious services and performances activities under the city’s mask bylaw were approved by Edmonton city council Friday, in order to better align with the provincial order.
Edmonton city council unanimously voted on the amendments to the bylaw, which also authorizes city manager Andre Corbould to grant exemptions in exceptional circumstances under the mask bylaw until the new city council is sworn on Nov. 15.
For places of worship, the exemption only applies to those “participating in the service or ceremony, such as faith leaders, those eating or drinking as part of a rite or ceremony, wedding parties, and musicians performing as part of the service or ceremony.”
Those individuals must remain distanced by at least six feet or separated from a physical barrier from congregants and all other attendees, who are required to wear a mask.
The amendment to the bylaw also allows exemptions for anyone participating in a performance activity, such as singing, dance recitals, playing an instrument, or acting, as long as the performers are distanced from the audience by at least six feet, or are separated from the audience by a physical barrier.
Audience members are required to wear a face covering, unless another exemption replies such as audience members who are seated at a table and eating or drinking.
Along with the exemptions, the amendments also grants Corbould limited authority to grant exemptions to wearing masks in indoor public spaces not otherwise listed in the bylaw, as long as it does not conflict with the provincial health order or other legislation.
Administration considered an exemption for those fully vaccinated, or venues that require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. However, as this exemption does not currently exist under the provincial order, it could not be included in the mask bylaw.
However, if prior to Nov. 15 such an exemption is introduced by the province, then Corbould grant that exception in appropriate circumstances.
As of Thursday, the city of Edmonton had 3,239 active cases of COVID-19, or 312 per 100,000 people.