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Masking Requirements and Enforcement in Indoor Public Spaces

November 24, 2020: Province extends emergency, introduces mask enforcement measures

As of November 19, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) has issued an order requiring masks to be mandatory in indoor public spaces . On November 24, 2020, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is aligning the Province’s measures under the Emergency Program Act with the Provincial health Officer’s guidance that masks be worn in indoor public spaces.

This new tool will allow officials to enforce the mask mandate as recommended by the PHO. As we enter the second wave, it is all the more necessary to take additional measures to protect ourselves, families, and communities from COVID-19.

Masks must be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older, in many indoor public settings. Examples of public settings where masking is required include:

  • malls, shopping centers, coffee shops, retail, and grocery stores
  • liquor and drug stores
  • airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centers
  • restaurants, pubs and bars
  • places of public worship
  • on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle
  • common areas of office buildings, court houses, hospitals and hotels
  • common areas of sport and fitness centers when not engaged in physical activity
  • common areas of post secondary institutions and non profit organizations

Mask definition

For the purpose of this order, a mask is defined as a medical or non-medical mask that covers the nose and mouth. Face shields are not a substitute for a mask as there is an opening below the mouth.

Exceptions to this order

People who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others are exempt.

Masks may be removed temporarily in indoor public places to identify the individual wearing the mask, to consume food or beverage at a location designated for this purpose, while participating in a sport or fitness activity in a sport facility or while receiving a personal or health service that requires the mask to be removed

Enforcement measures

Anyone without a mask in an indoor public place or who refuses to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space, or who responds with abusive or belligerent behavior, may be subject to a $230 fine.