Edmonton peace officers have issued six tickets to people for not covering their faces in the past three days, almost twice as many as were issued in the first three months of the bylaw being in effect.
The City of Edmonton issued a total of four mask violations between Aug. 1 and Nov. 27. In the three day span of Nov. 28 to 30, enforcement officers handed out six tickets, each carrying a $100 fine. Data provided online by the city shows officers issued 13 warnings and two tickets on Nov. 30.
Enforcement looked different on Aug. 22 when officers gave 120 warnings and no tickets.
The spike in tickets comes after interim city manager Adam Laughlin said Friday the city would be clamping down on mask usage in all public places, including recreation centres. He said everyone would need to wear masks in indoor public places even if they were previously exempt.
The city previously advised businesses to make accommodations for those exempt from wearing a face covering by allowing them in or providing curb-side pickup.
Laughlin said 22 city-owned arenas will be closed from Dec. 1-18. These arenas weren’t open to the public, but available for bookings by leagues or community organizations. The Downtown Community Arena will remain open as part of the World Junior Hockey Championship to be hosted at Rogers Place.
“We’ve reached the tipping point where the rate of the spread of the virus could grow exponentially and cause even more devastating harm to our health and safety of our residents and our economy,” Laughlin said. “The priority right now is shutting down the spread of transmission and protecting our health system.”
Provincial data shows there were 7,552 active cases in the Edmonton Zone as of Tuesday.
While tickets for infractions may be rising, city data shows the majority of Edmontonians are continuing to follow the bylaw. About 99 per cent of people inside recreation facilities wear masks. LRT riders have the lowest compliance rate at 85.6 per cent.
Recreation centres remain open for individual exercise and swimming. Face coverings must be worn in the centres except for during exercise or while swimming.