'Every tool in our toolbox': State of local emergency back on in Calgary

Months after dropping COVID-19 case numbers lifted restrictions, as well as a local state of emergency, in the city of Calgary, officials say the current situation means the policy is back in force.

There's also a return of a bylaw that led to a multitude of protests.

The City of Calgary declared a State of Local Emergency (SOLE) on Friday afternoon in order to help "support efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus."

The SOLE will allow city workers to access resources more efficiently and effectively, as well as paving the way to put local health orders in place.

Those will help Calgary navigate some of the challenges ahead, officials said.

"This SOLE helps us to take further actions to protect the most vulnerable in our community," the city wrote in a release.

"We are going to continue to use every tool in our toolbox and work extremely hard in the best interests of our citizens, communities and businesses."

A SOLE was last declared in November 2020 and lifted in June 2021. Prior to that, a SOLE was in effect from March 2020 to June 2020.

RETURN OF THE MASK BYLAW

A special council meeting also led to another change Friday night: the municipal mask mandate is back in effect.

That mandate was taken away in early July, but councillors believe the current situation calls for it to be reinstated. Starting on Saturday, masks will once again be required in indoor public spaces and on city transit.

The bylaw automatically expires on the last day of 2021, but it could also be rescinded before then if the city's per capita cases fall below 100 for 10 consecutive days.

The province also passed a similar mandate Friday, though councillors said enacting a municipal rule makes enforcement easier and will allow the city to decide if and when it's lifted.

In the meantime, the city encourages all Calgarians to practice proper health procedures such as wearing masks in crowded areas, maintaining physical distancing, practicing proper handwashing and acquiring two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.