B.C. health officials have announced that the current indoor mask mandate is being extended indefinitely amid the fourth wave of COVID-19.
The previous order, which requires masks to be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout B.C., was set to expire on Oct. 31.
Dr. Bonnie Henry says the decision to extend the mandate is in an effort to continue to slow the transmission of COVID-19 across 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,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. “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.”
The extension of the mandate means that masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people five and older, regardless of vaccination status.
This includes venues such as:
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 healthcare workers and support one another.”
The government says that masks may be removed inside temporarily in order to consume food and beverage, identify an individual wearing a mask, participate in sport or fitness activity, or while receiving a personal service or health service that requires a mask to be removed.
Health officials emphasized that people who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others are exempt. Reasons for someone not being able to wear a mask include psychological, behavioural or health conditions and physical, cognitive or mental impairment.
For information on the latest provincial health officer’s orders and guidance visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/