mask exemption edmonton

Edmonton is giving out exemption cards to people who don't want to wear face masks

Just one week after Edmonton's mandatory face mask policy went into effect, the city is giving out exemption cards, which excuse residents from wearing a face covering in public areas.

Edmonton residents can now obtain the orange exemption cards that say "I cannot wear a mask or a face covering" and "Please give me 2 metres of space" at seven centres across the city.

Although the cards are intended for residents with medical conditions, the program is based entirely on the honour system, per the government website.

"We trust members of the public are adhering to the spirit and purpose of the program," the website says.

Yup. No doctor's note required.

According to the Edmonton bylaw, the only exceptions to the mandatory mask rule are:

  • children under the age of 2
  • people who are unable to use a face covering without assistance
  • people unable to wear a face covering due to a mental or physical concern or limitation
  • people consuming food or drink as part of a religious ceremony
  • people engaged in water activities or physical exercise
  • people providing care to a person with a disability where that face covering would hinder their assistance
  • people engaged in services that require the temporary removal of a face covering

However, the free "proof of exemption" card can be handed out to just about anyone, no questions asked — and Edmonton residents have some thoughts on the matter.

"Is this fake?" one person wrote. "Because the only way someone should be given an exception card is if their doctor issues it, not a rec centre."

"As a person with a compromised immune system, I felt safe to go out for the first time in ages because of the level of compliance," another person wrote. "Thanks for providing a loophole."

The government website says that the cards were created so that people with a personal exemption to the face mask bylaw don't need to provide a reason or explanation.

"Some may wish to show an official signifier of their exemption, especially if they feel this will help them avoid potential questions from other members of the public, business owners/employees or City peace officers," the website says.

Officials said that 120 cards have already been handed out at the Clareview rec centre on Saturday, per CTV News.

Lead photo by

Mike Nickel

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