Over the past few weeks a number of new B.C. COVID-19 restrictions have been introduced to curb the spread. Some of these include the banning of social gatherings and a new mask mandate.
Residents are now required to wear masks in all indoor public spaces and — according to a news release sent on Tuesday, November 24 — you can get slapped with a big fine for not following the mask mandates.
There are a number of spaces where masks have now been made mandatory including malls, coffee shops, retail and grocery stores, liquor and drug stores, restaurants and bars, places of worship, public transit or ride-sharing services, common areas of fitness centres, and common areas of post-secondary institutions.
Basically, anytime you're inside in a public space, your mask should be on.
Fine for breaking the mask-wearing rules.
The news release went on to say that masks are now required in common areas of apartment buildings, condos, and workspaces.
If you’re wondering what qualifies as a mask, the government describes it 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.”
There are some exemptions including people who are unable to put on or remove masks by themselves or other reasons such as “psychological, behavioural or health condition.”
You can take off your mask briefly to eat or drink.
The release explained the penalty further. “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 behaviour, may be subject to a $230 fine,” it read.
These new rules and punishments are effective immediately.