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'This is ridiculous': Vancouverites express anger over lack of COVID-19 face mask rules

As the province heads into respiratory virus season, many people fear the lack of public health measures will lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The hashtag #bringmasksback was trending on Twitter in Canada this week, with numerous Metro Vancouverites sharing their thoughts about the relaxed mask rule. 

Public health officials have warned that B.C. could see a spike in coronavirus cases heading into the respiratory season — but many locals say the province isn't doing enough to prevent transmission of the virus. 

COVID-19 is expected to surge around November through January, and the flu is expected to peak early this year around the same time, based on the experiences of Australia and New Zealand, said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a Sept. 28 press conference.

The hashtag #bringmasksback was trending on Twitter in Canada this week, with numerous Metro Vancouverites sharing their thoughts about the relaxed mask rule. 

Many locals remarked that the majority of Metro Vancouverites aren't wearing face coverings on transit, at polling stations, in shopping malls, or in other public places. 

B.C. officials lifted the mandatory mask policy on July 1, but public health officials encouraged people to continue to wear them in public while indoors, particularly on public transit. Many locals expressed concern for their health and for people who have a higher risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

A couple of people have mentioned that B.C. has seen drastically fewer influenza cases in the past couple of years due to public health measures, such as face coverings. 

B.C. coronavirus cases expected to surge in the fall following relaxed face mask rule

Canada dropped the travel vaccine requirement on Sept. 30, and Transport Canada dropped the travel mask requirement to a recommendation on trains and planes. 

But numerous locals underscore that a face mask requirement is the only way to prevent rising cases of the virus and that the general population won't follow a mere recommendation. 

Some people have mentioned that public health hasn't done enough to encourage people to wear masks, either. While they are recommended, they say there aren't enough campaigns with messaging encouraging people to don them in public. 

For many people, the relaxed rules mean that their loved ones, such as their elderly family members, are at a much higher risk of contracting the virus.

An Ontario woman shared a photo of an 86-year-old family member and asked: "Haven't we lost enough of our loved ones?"

In the wake of the trending discourse, however, a few locals have taken to social media to underscore that they prefer the relaxed rules.  

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