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The City of Edmonton is being sued by an Edmonton man for $565 million for its temporary mandatory mask bylaw. The man has claimed that the bylaw caused a public health hazard and nuisance, according to the Edmonton Journal.
The city put the mandatory mask rule into effect on Aug. 1 after a council vote of 10-3. The rule is part of an effort to avoid the spread of coronavirus and is applicable in publicly-accessible indoor spaces such as restaurants, retail stores, recreational facilities and vehicle-for-hire services.
On Monday, a statement of claim was filed in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. Edmonton resident Glen Miller claims that the new law has created a "health crisis."
"By the discarding of face masks and with the city knowing or that it should have known that it is unable to control the actions of the people, the city has created a public health hazard for me and others," said Miller.
Miller says that if the bylaw is rescinded within 10 days he will not move forward with his legal proceedings. If not, he will be looking for $565 million in remediation.
Miller added that he sees masks littered all over the ground whenever he goes out.
“Everywhere I go, when I walk to places like Superstore or Southgate mall, masks are all over the place,” he said. “It’s unsanitary.”
Edmonton has seen more mask litter since the bylaw has been implemented, according to spokeswoman Lori Yanish. The city plans on making litter kits—with contents such as litter grabbers, garbage bags and gloves—to address the problem.
"The city is seeing an increase in discarded mask litter as more masks are being worn. We remind citizens to properly dispose of masks, face coverings and other personal protective equipment — these items should be put in a garbage bin," said Yanish to Postmedia. "We are concerned about litter and are doing additional communications work to address this issue."
The city has not issued any tickets since the mandatory mask bylaw came into effect and the public has been highly compliant. There have been about 800 verbal and educational warnings issued by enforcement officers so far. In private businesses, Edmonton has seen 97.5 percent compliance to the rule as well as 92 percent on transit.