EDMONTON—Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says Alberta Health Services (AHS) has the autonomy to bring in mask mandates in acute care facilities, but says she is still committed to not bringing in “province-wide mask mandates.”

“I believe that if Albertans want to wear a mask, they should. AHS has announced their decision to implement a new masking protocol in AHS acute care facilities,” Ms. Smith said in a statement to The Epoch Times on Oct. 11.

“We recognize that AHS currently has the autonomy to make this decision. It is my expectation that no Albertan will be denied access to health care.”

In a statement posted on the AHS website and social media on Oct. 11, AHS said it has issued the “Use of Masks to Prevent Transmission of COVID-19 Directive,” to come immediately into effect, and it will allow zone executive leadership and site leadership of acute care centres to decide whether to require masking by all AHS staff, doctors, midwives, students, volunteers, and workers in hospital laboratories.

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