On June 8, the government of Alberta announced Albertans had access to 20 million free, non-medical face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The non-medical face masks are available at nearly 600 A&W, McDonald’s Canada, and Tim Hortons drive-thru locations across the province.
“We’re proud to be the first province in Canada to support residents with free masks for use in situations where physical distancing may not be possible. Thank you to our restaurant partners, franchise owners, and staff members, who are volunteering their time and effort to distribute these masks,” said the Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.
Approximately 95 per cent of Albertans live within 10 km of an A&W, McDonald’s Canada, or Tim Hortons drive thru.
No purchase is necessary to receive four non-medical masks, as Albertans are encouraged to pick-up masks for family members and friends who may not have access to a drive thru.
Masks are being distributed on the honour system, and people are asked to respect the limit of one package of four masks per Albertan to ensure everyone who wants masks can get them.
Although the use of masks is not mandatory, they are an option for situations where maintaining a distance of two metres is not possible.
The program is intended to supplement an individual’s efforts to acquire non-medical masks. Albertans who wish to use non-medical masks are encouraged to purchase their own supply from local retailers in addition to using those provided by the government.
“Our restaurants have done a great job behind the scenes, getting ready to help distribute masks in communities across Alberta. We’re looking forward to welcoming a lot of Albertans at our drive-thru’s in the coming days,” said the President and CEO of A&W Canada, Susan Senecal.
Masks have also been provided to many municipalities, First Nations communities, Metis Settlements, and local agencies, including rural and remote communities that do not have access to a partner restaurant drive-thru and are developing their own distribution plans.
Non-medical masks are also being provided to seniors’ facilities and organizations that support vulnerable populations for distribution to their residents, clients, and program members. These masks are not available to the general public.
“At McDonald’s Canada, we continue to be inspired by the ways Canadians come together to take care of each other. The opportunity to partner with the Alberta government on this initiative is another way for us to show our commitment to the communities we serve.
Our restaurant teams are ready to distribute non-medical masks effectively and safely to all Albertans,” said Restaurant Support Officer and COVID-19 Response lead of McDonald’s Canada, Jeff Kroll.
“Throughout the pandemic, the 1,500 Tim Hortons owners across Canada have been eagerly supporting their communities and stepping up to answer calls for assistance,” said Tim Hortons Chief Operating Officer Mike Hancock.
Adding, “Our restaurant owners in Alberta and their team members are eager to participate in this important program to distribute masks to Albertans. Personally, I feel very proud of our owners in Alberta, and their commitment to serve their communities.
There was no hesitation to take part in this, only excitement to contribute to such an important initiative.”
Planning is now underway to distribute another 20 million masks across the province.
Instructions for proper care and use of non-medical masks is available at alberta.ca/masks.