Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender has issued a letter to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urging her to bring the mask mandate back to BC.
On March 11, BC lifted the mask mandate based on a ruling by Henry and the BC Ministry of Health, which Govender suggests was a “hasty end.”
While businesses and organizations could choose to keep mask mandates in place at their establishments, no one was obligated to do so. Many organizations, including transit-oriented ones that serve large numbers of people like TransLink, BC Ferries, and BC Transit, chose to drop their mask mandate.
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Govender suggests that the lifting of the mask mandate impacts the most vulnerable populations, including seniors and people with disabilities.
“Some of us are more vulnerable than others to the virus, and public health policy must consider these disproportionate impacts. In this case of the pandemic, marginalized groups include immuno-compromised people, older people, Indigenous and racialized peoples, people with disabilities, and low-income communities,” writes Govender.
“I am concerned, therefore, that the hasty end to the provincial mask mandate will have profoundly unequal effects across society.”
The fact that the mask mandate was lifted as students were going back to school after spring break was a primary point of contention for Govender.
“Many students across BC returned to school this week amid a pandemic that has not ended, but without the protection offered by mask mandates.”
Many have taken to social media to respond to the letter, supporting the idea of bringing the mask mandate back to BC.
Stop saying “you can keep wearing your mask if you are uncomfortable or scared”. This has NOTHING to do with comfort, this is not a mental health issue, this is about listening to science and using a layer of protection to keep myself and the vulnerable safe. #ba2
— BC School Covid Tracker (@BCschoolCovid) March 29, 2022
Minister Whiteside, the BC Human Rights Commissioner argues against the premature removal of mask mandates, with concerns extending to #bced schools & daycares.
— Vera – she/her (@vera_tenacious) March 29, 2022
Daily Hive has reached out to the BC Ministry of Health for a response.