The first phase of the government of Alberta’s distribution of free non-medical masks ended on June 22, with more than 14 million masks being given out at 600 A&W, McDonald’s Canada, and Tim Hortons drive-thrus across the province.
An additional six million masks were shared directly with municipalities, seniors’ organizations, Indigenous partners, places of worship, and others to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
“Thank you to all our partners for helping our government distribute millions of non-medical masks to every corner of Alberta. No other province in Canada has accomplished such a feat,” said the Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro.
“A program of this scale would not have been possible without your hard work and community support. We will continue to support Albertans as we move through stage two of the relaunch, and people continue to get back to work,” he said.
A&W, McDonald’s Canada, and Tim Hortons were chosen as partners in the free non-medical mask program, as approximately 95 per cent of Albertans live within 10 kilometres of a drive-thru.
The government of Alberta has now paused the distribution of non-medical masks at the restaurant partners until the second phase in July.
An additional 20 million masks will be distributed in July, at drive-thrus, and other partners.
However, any Albertans who have not received a mask can continue to call 211 to request a package.
The program is in collaboration with Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy to reopen the economy while protecting Albertans from COVID-19.
The government of Alberta also provided non-medical masks directly to Edmonton Transit, Calgary Transit, municipalities without access to a drive-thru, First Nations, Metis Settlements, seniors’ organizations, independent living facilities, long-term care, permanent supportive living facilities, women’s shelters, homeless shelters, street outreach programs, addiction treatment centres, foster and kinship parents.
As of June 19, the government of Alberta has received 1,000 requests for masks from places of worship across the province, and more than two million masks will be provided to them for distribution to their congregations.
Although the use of non-medical 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.
No purchase was necessary to receive four non-medical masks, as Albertans were encouraged to pick-up masks for family members and friends who may not have access to a drive-thru.
Masks were distributed on the honour system, and people were asked to respect the limit of one package of four masks per Albertan to ensure everyone who wanted a mask could get one.
Instructions for proper care and use of non-medical masks are available at alberta.ca/masks.