Masks or facial coverings are now mandatory for all Vancouver Art Gallery visitors, beginning today, July 31.
The new requirement, announced just ahead of the B.C. Day long weekend, is the institution's latest measure implemented in an effort to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Gallery reopened its doors to the public on June 15, after shutting down in March.
“Like physical distancing and frequent handwashing, there is growing evidence that shows that the public use of masks or face coverings help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Daina Augaitis, the Gallery’s interim director, in a release.
“Since we re-opened we have put procedures in place to ensure we are safe, sanitized and ready to welcome you. These measures include capacity restrictions, timed ticket entry, hand sanitizing stations, increased cleaning and contact tracing applications."
She added, "The health and safety of Gallery visitors continues to be a top priority for us and the required use of masks will help ensure that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable art experience.”
According to the BC Centre for Disease Control, masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by creating a barrier that blocks droplets from a person’s mouth and nose when talking, laughing, yelling, singing, coughing, or sneezing.
That said, the BCCDC cautions that mask-wearing should be combined with other important measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing to prevent transmission of the virus, adding that "Using only a mask is not enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
Those with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask are exempt from the requirement, as are children aged five and under, the Gallery explained. While the institution is asking its visitors to provide their own masks or face coverings, masks are available for purchase at the Gallery's Admissions or Membership desks, and at the Gallery Store.