B.C. to require masks in indoor, public places and extend ban on social gatherings province-wide

British Columbians must now wear masks in all indoor public places, officials announced, as part of sweeping new measures to crack down on the province’s second wave of COVID-19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that she reversed her stance on the issue after hearing that businesses were concerned about having to enforce guidelines on mask-wearing in a bid to slow the spread of the disease.

“You name it, for the most part,” Henry said, referring to the wide list of places included under the new rules such as grocery stores, shopping malls, and restaurants when not eating or drinking.

Read more: B.C. premier calls on prime minister to ask other provinces to restrict non-essential travel

She noted again that the recent spike in transmission has not been between workers and the public, but between workers themselves in places like break rooms and car pools.

“This is one of those things we did very reluctantly. But right now, I have concern we have transmission happening even if it’s with the seemingly appropriate measures in place. This is a measure I feel is important now.”

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Possible new B.C. COVID-19 measures to come?

The province also extended the Nov 7. ban on social gatherings in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions to December, and expanded it to the entire province.

All British Columbians are asked to avoid non-essential travel and have social gatherings only with those in your immediate household.

“It is okay to go for a walk outside with a friend. It is okay for the grandparents to pick up the kids at school. It is okay to fix the furnace at your mother’s house. Those are not social events,” Henry said.

“You can have your cleaning person come into your home. The goal of these measures is to reduce our social measures.”

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Premier John Horgan takes questions amid surge in B.C. COVID-19 cases

More to come.

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