Province issuing fines for not wearing masks — extends state of emergency

Mike Farnworth, B.C. minister of public safety and solicitor general, extended the province's state of emergency and provided details on the provincial mask mandate on Nov. 24. // Province of B.C. photo
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The provincial government extended its state of emergency to Dec. 8 and provided more details on the mask mandate.

Anyone without a mask in an indoor public place or who refuses to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer may receive a $230 fine, according to the province. 

“Some people will break the rules knowing full well what they’re doing. These measures give police and other enforcement officials the tools to intervene with and penalize problematic individuals and groups,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general.

Law enforcement issued 59 violation tickets between Aug. 21 and Nov. 20, including 25 $2,300 tickets for gatherings and events and 25 $230 tickets to people refusing to wear a mask or leave a space.

People who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others are exempt, the province said.

“We’ve entered a second wave of COVID-19 in British Columbia and additional steps need to be taken to protect our health,” said Farnworth.

“The provincial health officer provided guidance that masks should be worn in all indoor public places. This new order under the Emergency Program Act will ensure we have the tools necessary to enforce the mask mandate.”

The order requires B.C. residents 12 years and older to wear masks in indoor public and retail spaces.

Emergency Management BC said it anticipates issuing further orders to enforce requirements for masks in common areas of apartment buildings, condos and workplaces. Face shields are not a substitute for a mask, as there is an opening below the mouth.

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