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No order yet, but masks now an 'expectation' for indoor public spaces in B.C.

"We know, the evidence is showing us, that those are situations where we can’t always keep our safe distance and a mask can be an additional layer of protection — both for ourselves and for others.”
bonnie-henry-file-photo
Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s top medical health officer. File photo

While she’s not making an official order, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says it is now her “expectation” that people wear masks while in indoor public spaces.

“My expectation around masks as we are going into the respiratory season, and we know that COVID is still with us, is that we will all be wearing masks in public spaces,” Dr. Henry said Monday, rattling off a list of examples such as the grocery store, hardware store, public transit or ServiceBC counter.

“Those are times when we need to wear masks, and all of us need to pay attention to that now. We know, the evidence is showing us, that those are situations where we can’t always keep our safe distance and a mask can be an additional layer of protection — both for ourselves and for others.”

She said masks do not need to be worn outdoors — where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is minimal — unless in a crowd.

An official order mandating masks in indoor public spaces is not being made in recognition of people with medical conditions that do not allow them to wear a mask, “we need to be accepting of that.”

Dr. Henry added that workplaces should now be reviewing their COVID-19 safety plans, as the province is seeing virus spread in places like carpools and lunchrooms. 

Looking at the school system, Dr. Henry said mask policies will remain status quo, which require staff and students to wear masks while in common areas of the school like hallways.

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