5th day of rallies in downtown Calgary calls for health measures to continue past Aug. 16

CALGARY — For the fifth day, a noon hour rally was held in downtown Calgary to protest upcoming changes to Alberta’s COVID-19 health restrictions. 

Crowds gathered in Alberta’s two largest cities once again in the wake of the province lifting all restrictions as of Aug. 16.

That means masks won’t be needed anywhere, including in taxis, on transit and in public schools and buildings. As well, Albertans who test positive will no longer need to quarantine.

Protesters have said they will hold daily rallies leading up to Aug. 16, calling on the government to rethink the move.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said last week that the shift from a pandemic to endemic response in Alberta with regards to COVID-19 is due in part to the increasing amount of fully immunized Albertans.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi has said he is considering calling a special meeting of council to discuss the role the city can take, including whether to call another state of local emergency.

According to the latest numbers from the province, Calgary is leading in the number of active COVID-19 cases at 990, well ahead of Edmonton at 301.

“We’re trying to do whatever we can as a civic government with very, very limited ability and power, but the right thing to do would be for Dr. Hinshaw and the premier to come out and say ‘Look, we went too quickly, we can see the case counts are going up. Let’s go back and put some measures in place,'” said Coun. Jyoti Gondek, who is running for mayor in October.

“I have zero confidence, we’re going to do that.”

Another councillor running for mayor, Jeromy Farkas, said protesters need to show why a continuation of health measures is needed.

“We can’t pick and choose when to support the scene,” he said.

“Dr. Hinshaw has made the call, if people think she and her team have got it wrong then they need to prove it rather than stir people up based on emotional arguments.”

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