For the next two weeks, it is now mandated that everyone in B.C. wear a mask while inside a public space, except for those who medically cannot wear one.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday this is part of sweeping new measures to crack down on the province’s second wave of COVID-19.
But a lot of questions remain.
How will the new mask requirement be enforced?
Full guidelines are expected to be released on Monday, but Henry said businesses around the province can expect a bigger crackdown on the rules moving forward.
She said there will be more enforcement and more inspections to make sure everyone is following the rules.
“We will be paying particular effort to inspecting COVID safety plans, to making sure they are being adhered to in these settings,” Henry said.
“If we have challenges, if we find they’re not being adhered to, these businesses will be closed down.”
Among the locations where masks will now be mandatory in B.C. are grocery stores, shopping malls, and restaurants when not eating or drinking.
“It does give owners and operators of retail spaces, public spaces, the ability to call on police,” Henry said Thursday if people are not following the rules.
“It also means that there can be fines and there’s ways that they can deal with employee safety under the Public Safety Act.”
Under the order, employers are expected to enforce the mandatory mask policy with both employees and customers and a customer can be refused entry or service if they do not wear a mask.
Here is a full list of where masks are now required in indoor public settings in B.C. People who cannot put on or remove a mask on their own are exempt.
- Malls, shopping centres
- Grocery stores
- Coffee shops
- Common areas in hotels
- Clothing stores
- Liquor stores
- Drug stores
- Community centres
- Recreation centres
- City halls
- Restaurants and bars when not seated at a table
- Common areas in apartment buildings and condos
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