On August 24, 2021, B.C. government officials issued a Public Health Order which reintroduced a mask mandate requiring people to wear masks in public, indoor spaces.
On the heels of the Government’s major announcement regarding “vaccine passports”, it was announced Tuesday that, less than two months after removing the requirement, British Columbians will again be required to wear masks in public, indoor spaces.
Dr. Bonnie Henry stressed that the new mask mandate is a temporary measure in response to the 4th wave of Covid-19 the province is currently experiencing. She also explained that the Public Health Order would be reassessed in conjunction with the “vaccine passport” program, which begins in the middle of September.
The Public Health Order made clear that masks or face coverings were required to comply with the Order; face shields are not considered substitutes. Furthermore, consistent with the previous mask mandate, persons who cannot wear a mask (for example, for health reasons) or who cannot put on or remove a mask without assistance are exempt from the requirement.
The list of settings captured by the mask mandate include:
- malls, shopping centres, coffee shops and retail and grocery stores;
- liquor and drug stores;
- airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres;
- restaurants, pubs and bars (unless seated);
- public transportation and taxi or ride-sharing;
- areas of office buildings where services to the public are provided;
- common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity;
- common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations;
- inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4-12.
We will continue to update our clients with information as soon as it becomes available. If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing a COVID-19 vaccination policy tailored to the needs of your workplace, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.