Mask wearing to become routine as COVID-19 cases increase

Mask wearing to become routine as COVID-19 cases increase
WatchTo mask or not to mask. It's a question with a clear answer these days as this pandemic continues. More and more public spaces are requiring a face covering or mask, particularly as we head into the fall.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, routines have become different.

Victorians now routinely line up outside stores.  And increasingly, wearing a mask is mandatory at some businesses.

Walmart Canada announced this week that face masks will need to be worn by all staff and customers starting Aug. 12. And as of Aug. 24, face masks or coverings will be mandatory on BC Transit. 

B.C.s Restaurant and Food Services Association President, Ian Tostenson, would like to see all serving staff  wearing a mask or face shield. He said it’s better business.

“We were getting complaints from people saying, we were in a restaurant and they weren’t wearing masks. I’m not going back,” Tostenson said.

While B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, won’t mandate masks, she does gently suggest it as the best policy.

“We need to be flexible and we need to work on it together coming into the fall, and masks will play a part,” Henry said during the Thursday media briefing.

There are many videos on Youtube demonstrating how to put on a mask including this video produced by Island Health.

Wearing a mask in public places is well-known for its health benefits, according to pharmacist Lindsay Dixon.

“One of the main reasons that people should use and mass is due to what we call asymptomatic transmission. We know that there are people who could be out in the community, carrying this virus and even transmitting this virus before they present symptoms.  Or they could maybe never even present symptoms and they could have the virus,” Dixon said.

Dixon also said mask wearing will become critical in the coming weeks and months

“As we move into you know colder temperatures and as we are opening up our economy even more, wearing a mask will become more and more important. And so it’s good that we can even start just getting used to this,” she said.

There are still people who refuse to wear a mask, according to psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts.

“You can get push back when you get people who feel like they are being forced to do something they don’t want to do,” Roberts said.

But Roberts says those feelings will change as mask-wearing continues to become the new normal.

“You are going to feel kind of awkward being in public without one.  So, the more of us that do be consistent with wearing our masks, it’s going to create a new kind of social norm.  And I think we’re heading in that direction,” she said.

Dixon agreed, saying that there are simple steps to ensure British Columbians stay safe.

“I know we have all had to endure so much change in these last months and this is an additional change that has not been part of our culture to date. However, masks are a very simple but significant action that we can take individually to reduce transmission of this virus in our communities, and ensure our province continues to be a success story in this pandemic,” Dixon said.

And all experts agree that mask-wearing needs to be accompanied by physical distancing and hand washing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

READ MORE: B.C. reports 53 new COVID-19 cases, 1 new case in Island Health

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!