Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association president Winona Waldron listens to Dr. Henry explain lifting the mask mandate at 12:01 a.m.
A week later for students and staff at Victoria’s schools.
Teachers fought for protections throughout the pandemic, but Waldron thinks it’s time.
“It’ll take some time to re-adjust. But it’s exciting to think that we might be able to,” Waldron said.
The parent of a child who is immunocompromised, Lisa Bosdet is concerned about losing the protection of masks for her daughter.
“The masks have provided a great sense of relief in a lot of ways, and allowed my kids to go back to school,” Bosdet said. “They were not in school last year at all.”
But Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, recognized that not everyone is going to be comfortable going maskless.
“I understand that the changes we’re making will make some people very uncomfortable. It has been a long, and trying two years,” she said. “Our masks and other layers have provided a layer of comfort and protection for all of us. And it’s why it’s important for everyone to move at our own pace.”
Capacity limits for faith gatherings will be lifted shortly after midnight, but there is still caution according to Rabbi Harry Blechner at Victoria’s Congregation Emanu-El Conservative Jewish Synagogue.
“I think a lot of people are still nervous, and anxious. They are voting with their feet,” Blechner said. “We have a holiday coming up, Purim, like Carnival for the Jewish world. We’re already planning an outdoor event.”
Even with the mandate lifting, a sense that it’s not over yet according to Greg Wilson, a director with the Retail Council of Canada.
“I’m worried about the employees who make a decision to wear a mask. and customers who won’t respect that wish.”
The mask mandate, and a number of other public health orders expire at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning.
READ MORE: B.C. to end mask mandate Friday, vaccine card program next month