Health officials in British Columbia say it is now an “expectation” for people to wear non-medical face masks in public spaces.
The announcement came on Monday afternoon, shortly after the province announced a spike of 817 new COVID-19 cases since last Friday.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says that she is “stepping up our recommendations and advice around wearing masks.”
“It is now the expectation that people will wear a non-medical mask in public spaces,” she told reporters. “It is not an order, because this is something I know we support as part of our mutual responsibility to protect each other.”
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Henry also asked that businesses review their COVID-19 plans, especially those with employees that are in “high-traffic areas” or “amongst many people outside of their household.”
She also noted that lunchrooms and other communal areas where people gather are spots where health officials “see people transmitting this virus to each other.”
“While at work, a mask can help protect you and those around you, and we need to wear them as we’re going into this season,” Henry added.
Health officials also announced a new public order on Monday, limiting household gatherings to those within the immediate household, plus a “safe six.”
There are currently 2,325 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 5,077 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases. 10,734 individuals who tested positive have now recovered.