Face Covering Media Release

Transit Bus Operators will not enforce Face Coverings By-Law 26M2020
July 30, 2020

Calgary, AB. July 30, 2020— The Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 583 wishes to clarify that Calgary Transit Operators will not be required to enforce Face Coverings By-Law 26M2020 nor will they be taking an active roll in the distribution of face masks.

Local 583 applauds the recent decision of City Council to make the wearing of a face covering mandatory on Calgary Transit buses, CTrains and other public facilities. Like the riding public and most health experts, we are hopeful this will help to slow the spread of Covid – 19 and lessen the risk to our members and the riding public as a whole.

I can think of very few front-line workers that have been exposed to the potential contraction of this disease more than public transit operators and those that work directly to support them.

Like the general public, our members share the same fears and concerns of being indoors in close quarters with those outside of their cohort or safe inner circles. In spite of these fears they have been the major factor in keeping public transit running and the united voice in ensuring the best practices remain in place to keep the system as safe as possible for all of us.

That is why we feel the need to clarify statements made by Mayor Nenshi this morning stating that operators would be refusing boarding to members of the public that don’t have masks but would be offering masks to them.

This statement is not accurate. Our members will not be refusing boarding for non compliance of the by-law nor will operators be distributing masks to the public while operating the vehicles.

The comment is well intended and with the number of briefings the Mayor must have on this subject I can easily see how the message could be delivered with a slight inaccuracy. I know the City will be delivering masks to the public and I know the City will be enforcing the by-law where appropriate.

However, the wearing of masks has become a divisive subject and our operators are not equipped to provide either of these functions safely or effectively. Either for the public or themselves.

Those duties are best handle by Calgary City Police, Protective Services and Calgary’s By-Law Officers. They are trained and equipped to do this safely.

It is for these reasons I am compelled to clarify the protocol for our operators with respect to this by-law.
Again, Local 583 applauds Mayor Nenshi for taking a bold stand on the fight against this horrible pandemic and supports any initiative that makes public transit safer for our members and the riding public.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Mike Mahar, President Business Agent Amalgamated Transit Union Local 583.

Media Contact information: Mike Mahar 403-835-8230

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