I’m loving it.
The unsung heroes of the global coronavirus pandemic to now have been the grocery store workers, transit drivers, and other frontline workers tasked with performing what was once considered a set of ordinary jobs. Fast food workers have also been hard at work in many parts of the world and putting their lives on the line as they serve their fare.
In Alberta, Canada, those workers will now be handing out bundles of masks to any and all comers through their drive-thrus on a first-come, first-served basis.
“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,” the province’s Minister of Health says.
The province partnered with three fast food chains–McDonald’s, A&W, and Tim Hortons–to allow for distribution of 20 million masks. The public-private-partnership saw the supply procured by the Government of Alberta but distribution and packaging was led by the restaurant partners.
The government says most Albertans live within 10km (6.2 miles) of a drive-thru restaurant. Rural communities–those more than 50km away from the nearest drive-thru–and a number of Indigenous communities also received masks to be distributed by other means. Seniors facilities and other organizations working with high risk populations are also receiving masks directly from the government.
No purchase is necessary at the restaurants to receive the masks though a vehicle is required. The government is encouraging those who don’t have the means to acquire masks on their own to have friends and family support them by taking them to pick up masks or to pick up masks in their stead.
A further 20 million masks are currently being acquired for distribution at a later date.
Alberta has seen roughly 7200 cases of COVID-19 so far with the death count approaching 150. Perhaps the single largest outbreak in North America at one location occurred in a meat-packing plant in the province. That hasn’t deterred health officials from beginning to re-open the province with further relaxations of physical distancing rules expected next week.
Top image: McDonalds.