A collection of BC advocacy groups are coming together and calling on the Province to reinstate the mask mandate in indoor public spaces, businesses, schools and on public transit.
Protect Our Province BC, Safe Schools Coalition BC and BC School COVID Tracker have joined forces to push the message to the government, suggesting the removal of mandatory masks has the groups concerned about health risks.
The groups point to the pandemic not being over as part of their concern as well, with cases of COVID-19 still present in B.C. communities and the possibility of a sixth wave emerging.
The group says it is concerned at the signs of the Omicron sub-variant, BA.2, spreading in B.C. while suggesting that immunity from third doses administered in the vulnerable population last fall is starting to wane.
“All public health protection measures have been removed, including universal masking in indoor public spaces and public transit. This was done despite the strong evidence that well-fitting and high quality masks (N95 equivalent), worn by the vast majority of people indoors, substantially reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19,” stressed the advocacy groups in a joint release.
The trio of groups believe that with masking optional, places such as transit, grocery stores, pharmacies and schools are no longer safe places for British Columbians to be and put too many people at risk.
“We demand that the government reinstate mask protection in indoor public spaces, not only to stave off the BA.2 variant wave that is shutting down services in the UK (and also in BC, such as BC Ferries), but to also honour the BC Human Rights Commissioner’s request to keep universal masking to protect the many communities that are negatively affected by their removal,” reads a joint statement.
“In that way, we can all enjoy safe and essential public services where care for one another is a top priority and where no one is left behind.”
At this time, masks are no longer mandatory in B.C. public spaces although the government encourages people still use them.