Mask mandate reintroduced in indoor public settings in B.C.Mask mandate reintroduced in indoor public settings in B.C.

The B.C. government is bringing back its mask mandate for indoor public settings to combat the province’s ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.VANCOUVER —
The B.C. government is bringing back its mask mandate for indoor public settings to combat the province’s ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the reintroduction of the mask requirement on Tuesday, pointing to the alarmingly contagious Delta variant and the significant number of B.C. residents who <a href="https://gethypedllc.money/options-for-the-unvaccinated-narrowing-as-province-remains-mumoptions-for-the-unvaccinated-narrowing-as-province-remains-mum/" title="Options for the unvaccinated narrowing as province remains mumOptions for the unvaccinated narrowing as province remains mum">remain unvaccinated</a>.


"<a href="https://gethypedllc.money/this-is-the-whitest-paint-on-earth-and-it-could-eliminate-need-for-air-conditioning/" title="This is the whitest paint on Earth and it could eliminate need for air conditioning">"This measure is needed</a> to ensure that these indoor settings are as safe as they can be for all of us as we head into the fall," Henry said.


"This is to address those situations where we are in indoor settings with people who may not yet have been vaccinated."


The mandate is being implemented by a provincial health officer order that will take effect Wednesday, requiring masks to be worn by anyone 12 and older in most indoor public settings across the province.


"This will include malls, shopping centres, coffee shops, retail and grocery stores, liquor and drug stores, <a href="https://gethypedllc.money/spend-your-free-time-in-muskegon-city-hall/" title="Spend Your Free Time In Muskegon City Hall">city halls</a>, libraries, community and recreation centres, restaurants, pubs and bars - unless you are seated once you're at your table," Henry said.


It also applies to public transit, taxi and ride-sharing vehicles, common areas of sports and fitness centres, and "areas of office buildings where services are provided to the public," Henry added.


Under the health order, <a href="https://gethypedllc.money/why-are-the-same-people-who-are-against-some-restaurant-owners-making-customers-wear-masks-but-while-at-the-same-time-support-other-restaurant-owners-who-throw-out-customers-who-wear-masks/" title="Why are the same people who are against some restaurant owners making customers wear masks, but while at the same time support other restaurant owners who throw out customers who wear masks?">people who can't wear a mask</a> or put one on without the assistance of others are exempt. Masks may be taken off temporarily for identification, to eat or drink at dining locations or when participating in a physical activity.


It's recommended - but not required - that children between the ages of two and 12 wear a mask in indoor public settings. Masks aren't recommended for children under the age of two.


B.C. introduced its previous mask mandate in November 2020 and didn't lift it until July 1, as the government was entering the third phase of its restart plan. The province has since experienced a <a href="https://gethypedllc.money/b-c-s-covid-19-fourth-wave-continues-641-new-casesb-c-s-covid-19-fourth-wave-continues-641-new-cases/" title="B.C.&#8217;s COVID-19 fourth wave continues, 641 new casesB.C.&#8217;s COVID-19 fourth wave continues, 641 new cases">fourth wave of COVID-19 cases</a> fuelled by the Delta variant.


"As we've monitored the things that have been happening through the summer, we <a href="https://gethypedllc.money/how-different-do-people-greet-different-people-they-know-when-they-answer-their-phone-do-people-treat-them-differently/" title="How different do people greet different people they know when they answer their phone? Do people treat them differently?">know that for people</a> who are immunized - particularly in outdoor spaces, keeping a distance - that risk of transmission is very, very low," Henry said.


"We also know that as we move into the fall, we're starting to congregate more in indoor public spaces, and right now we know that this virus is transmitting in some of those indoor public spaces."


But Henry said mask wearing is "an additional measure" that is helpful in "certain circumstances," adding that getting vaccinated and staying home when sick are also both important measures. 


Henry announced the renewed mask mandate during a news conference on <a href="https://bc.ctvnews.ca/covid-19-and-schools-mask-mandate-in-place-for-students-in-grade-4-and-higher-b-c-officials-announce-1.5559123">B.C.'s back-to-school plan</a>, which also includes a mask requirement for students in Grade 4 and above and for staff across all grades.


On Monday, the government also revealed the province will soon implement a <a href="https://bc.ctvnews.ca/proof-of-vaccine-to-be-required-for-some-non-essential-businesses-in-b-c-officials-announce-1.5557660">vaccine passport system</a> for non-essential services and activities, including everything from live sporting events to indoor weddings.


Henry said the mask mandate "will be reassessed" as the proof-of-vaccination system is fully implemented in the coming weeks. Officials are giving the public a grace period of until Sept. 13, at which point residents will be expected to have at least one dose of vaccine to avoid exclusion.


By Oct. 24, full immunization will be required.
"We need to continue to do those things that keep us safe, and one of those things is wearing masks in these indoor settings as rates of transmission in our communities have creeped upwards," Henry said.

The B.C. government is bringing back its mask mandate for indoor public settings to combat the province’s ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases.

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