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B.C. tightens mask mandate and launches proof of vaccination program

CPPNews-Victoria August 23 and 24, 2021

                               
Starting Sept. 13, 2021, proof of vaccination will be required in B.C. for people attending certain social and recreational settings and events.

This important step will continue to increase the vaccination rate across the province and provide confidence to fully vaccinated people that those around them are also fully vaccinated.

“Vaccines are our ticket to putting this pandemic behind us,” said Premier John Horgan. “So I call on all eligible unvaccinated British Columbians to roll up their sleeves to stop the spread, and help protect themselves, their loved ones and the people in their community. British Columbia has one of the strongest vaccination rates in Canada with 75% of eligible people now fully vaccinated, but there is still more work to do.”

Pull quoteA new order from the provincial health officer will require individuals to provide proof of vaccination to access a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province. As of Sept. 13, one dose of vaccine will be required for entry to these settings. By Oct. 24, entry to these settings will require people to be fully vaccinated at least seven days after receiving both doses. To enter certain spaces, including indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor and patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres, casinos and indoor organized events, like conferences and weddings, people aged 12 and older will be required to show their proof of vaccination.

“I am grateful to every single person who has taken the time to receive their COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. “While our vaccination rate continues to rise, we are still seeing waves of transmission primarily amongst those who are not fully vaccinated. These new measures will help reduce transmission and keep our communities safe and ensure we can continue to keep businesses open and safely enjoy much-needed social events.”

A secure weblink will be provided and publicized before Sept. 13, where people will be able to confidentially access their proof of vaccination. Individuals will be able to save a copy of their proof of vaccination to their phone to show it when entering or using designated businesses and events. Individuals who cannot access their proof of vaccination online will be provided with a secure alternative option.

“Getting vaccinated keeps everyone in B.C. safe and stops the spread of COVID-19,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “And getting vaccinated is the best choice to protect yourself, the people you love and to ensure you can continue to participate in these public and private events and settings. Our B.C. vaccine card is an essential interim action until we transition to a federally compliant proof of vaccine.”

By getting vaccinated prior to Sept. 13, every British Columbian can continue to access these events and settings.
Learn about proof of vaccination requirements and the B.C. vaccine card at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/proof

Mask mandate to reduce transmission, protect people in public spaces

As of Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces throughout B.C. to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 as B.C. prepares for the fall and respiratory illness season.
Masks are not recommended for children under the age of two, but should be encouraged for children aged two to 12 in public settings. Children older than 12 must wear a mask in a public indoor space, unless they are exempt.
A new order from the provincial health officer will require people 12 and older to wear masks in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. These settings 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);
  • on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • 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; and
  • inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4-12.

This temporary order will be reassessed as the B.C. vaccine card requirement is fully implemented in certain social and recreational settings, as announced on Aug. 23.

“As transmission of COVID-19 increases in B.C., primarily among unvaccinated people and in part due to the Delta variant, it’s important to take this extra temporary step to make indoor public spaces safer for everyone,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “We need to continue doing the things that protect us, including wearing masks in indoor, public areas, practising hand hygiene regularly, staying away if we are sick and keeping a respectful distance from people. And most important of all, every person should get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community.”

For the purposes of this order, a mask or face covering 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.

“As unvaccinated people continue to get sick and hospitalized with COVID-19, we’re taking another step to ensure we overcome COVID-19 together, and that we move forward together,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Our pandemic has always been about making good choices with the information we have and making the best choices to keep people safe. Now more than ever, we need to follow the advice and orders of the provincial health officer.”
People who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others are exempt. A person may not be able to wear a mask for a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or due to a physical, cognitive or mental impairment.

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.
Masks are not recommended for children under the age of two, but should be encouraged for children aged two to 12 in public settings. Children older than 12 must wear a mask in a public indoor space, unless they are exempt.


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