Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in BC

Nov 19 2020, 3:00 pm

British Columbia has announced a new health order calling for the mandatory use of masks in retail and indoor public spaces.

The announcement was made on Thursday afternoon. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says that she consulted with both the public and retail sectors, who asked for more explicit directions on the use of masks, specifically to manage employee safety and address ongoing issues with customers.

“I’ve asked the Minister of Public Safety and the Solicitor General to issue a requirement for the wearing of masks for all indoor public and retail spaces for staff and customers, except where eating or drinking,” Henry explains.

It also applies to common public areas in workplaces or hotels, such as elevators and corridors between different work areas.

“If you are at work at your desk, you do not need to wear a mask,” says Henry. “But if you are in a shared workspace, a common space, or public space like elevators, hallways, and other common areas, you do.”

“If you are behind service counters and you have plexiglass between you and everyone else, you do not need to wear a mask unless there are others behind there with you.”

Patrons at restaurants will need to wear a mask while they’re not at their table, like when entering the restaurant, leaving the restaurant, and going into the restroom. Staff will also need masks while interacting with others, with staff, and with the tables.

The measure also doesn’t apply to those that are unable to put on or remove the mask on their own. It also doesn’t apply to those under the age of two.

“We need to be aware that some people’s disabilities or inability to wear a mask may not be readily apparent to people,” Henry notes.

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