On July 13th, the Alberta government released that 20 million free masks are now available.
9 million of the masks were available at over 700 partner fast-food locations, including 100 new locations across the province. The government states that no purchase would be necessary to pick up a mask from a fast-food location, as they are free. They are available both at counters and through drive-thrus.
A&W, McDonald’s Canada, and Tim Hortons partner restaurants are handing out eight masks per person. The government encourages Albertans to pick some up for friends or family while supplies last, as having one person pick up multiple would also reduce traffic to restaurants.
Restaurants that’re still closed due to not being able to meet COVID-19 restrictions have not been provided masks, and will not have them available to pick up.
4 million masks are being provided to 20 transit systems across Alberta, including Calgary and Edmonton, to be used by transit riders.
2.5 million have been provided to places of worship, 900,000 are going to long-term care and seniors facilities, 800,000 are going to First Nations communities and Metis Settlements, 500,000 are going to communities without easy access to restaurants, 1.5 million are being offered to social services organizations to support vulnerable Albertans, 500,000 are going to court houses for distribution to the public attending court proceedings, and 300,000 are held in reserve for communities that may experience outbreaks and require additional masks.
Mask use is not mandatory, the government states, but they are an option for situations where maintaining a distance of six feet is not possible.
Contact Alberta 211 for assistance if you cannot access a restaurant partner or access masks through alternate municipal or community providers. The government encourages that those with problems with the distribution of masks should be directed here rather than Alberta 211.
-Ridley Reiser, Trending 55 Newsroom