B.C. dropping mandatory masks indoors is happening ‘too soon’, some doctors say

B.C. dropping mandatory masks indoors is happening 'too soon', some doctors say
WatchIt's been five days since B.C. stopped requiring masks indoors, but doctors say the province is moving too fast. Kori Sidaway reports.

When you walk into a shop in British Columbia, masks no are no longer required.

But many are sticking on the safe side with even some shops on Vancouver Island keeping them mandatory.

“Our company is still in favour of having the masks still on for our employees and customers, just to make sure it’s as safe as possible,” said Shaheena Shaik, an assistant manager at Chocolat Favoris in downtown Victoria.

So, when you’re indoors should you, or shouldn’t you mask up?

“We’re facing the delta variant which is showing some signs of being resistant to the vaccines. Why would we want to test it? Why would we want to risk it?” said Dr. Kashif Pirzada, an emergency room physician.

“It doesn’t seem wise right to lift one of the most protective measures we’ve put into place to fight this pandemic right now.”

Some doctors aren’t buying the province’s new messaging around masks, and say lifting the mandate is premature.

“We are so close. Why we would lift the requirement now when we are basically spitting distance to herd immunity?” said Dr. Pirzada.

“I think there is a need perhaps on the political side to show things are getting back to normal. I don’t think that’s necessary.”

With the new variant, herd immunity is considered 85 per cent vaccinated.

Right now, 78 per cent of British Columbians have had their first shot. Only 36 per cent are fully vaccinated.

In the meantime, even though cases are down, doctors say until we increase our vaccination rate, they’re firmly suggesting when indoors, to mask up.

“This virus, we’ve seen time and time again its super spreading potential and events,” said Dr. Victor Leung, an infectious disease specialist out of Vancouver.

“We could get into a period of exponential growth very quickly, and we don’t want to give this virus the upper hand.”

READ MORE: B.C. reports 87 new COVID-cases over the weekend, one in Island Health

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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