A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Edmonton may keep masking bylaw until 70% of population is fully vaccinated: mayor

EDMONTON — The mayor of Edmonton says he’s considering a request from a doctors group that he and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi keep their masking bylaws in place until at least 70 per cent of their eligible populations have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Don Iveson said at a briefing today that he’s concerned about lifting masking bylaws in lockstep with the final stage of the Alberta government’s reopening plan.

Last week, the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association sent a letter to both mayors that expressed concern about the pace of the province’s plan, given that the variant first identified in India is able to infect two-thirds of people who have only had a single dose.

Nenshi wasn’t immediately available for comment.

The province has said Stage 3, which could happen as early as June 24, would see all health restrictions lifted as long as 70 per cent of Albertans 12 and over had received at least one shot.

Premier Jason Kenney said Monday that the province is ready to go ahead Thursday with the second phase, which would allow up to 20 people at outdoor gatherings, weddings and funeral services.

He also said 115,000 more people need to get their first vaccine shot within the next week if the final stage is to go ahead later this month.

Kenney said there were 100,000 bookings for the next week.