B.C. indoor mask mandate extended indefinitely

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, makes an announcement about mandatory masks in schools on Oct. 1, 2021. || B.C. government photo
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Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, has extended indefinitely a province-wide mandate that requires masks be worn in all indoor public spaces. 

The previous order was set to expire Oct. 31, according to a release from the province.

“The requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces is being extended during this time of higher transmission of COVID-19 in communities,” Henry said. “This important layer of protection will help make all of us safer, along with practising hand hygiene regularly, staying away if sick and, most importantly, getting fully vaccinated.”

Masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people five and older, regardless of vaccination status, according to the provincial government. 

These settings include:

-malls, shopping centres, coffee shops and retail and grocery stores;

-liquor and drug stores;

-airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres;

-restaurants, pubs and bars (unless seated);

-on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle;

-areas of office buildings where services to the public are provided;

-common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity;

-common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations; and

-inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have all been taking steps to keep our communities safe and we must continue to do so,” said Adrian Dix, minister of health. “Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask are important steps we can all take to stay healthy, protect our health-care system, support health-care workers and support one another.” 

Masks may be removed temporarily in indoor public places:

-to identify the individual wearing the mask;

-to consume food or beverage at a location designated for this purpose;

-while participating in a sport or fitness activity in a sport facility; or

-while receiving a personal or health service that requires the mask to be removed.

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