Police now able to enforce mask compliance in B.C. fitness facilities

B.C.’s solicitor general is aligning the Emergency Program Act on face coverings in fitness facilities with recently updated guidance from the provincial health officer — a move which now gives police and other officials the ability to enforce measures at their discretion.

On May 7, the provincial health officer ordered that masks be worn in fitness facilities which include gyms, fitness studios and dance studios at all times, including during workouts.

“This updated ministerial order on masks ensures a co-ordinated response to COVID-19,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

For the purpose of the order, the province defines a mask or face covering as a medical or non-medical mask that covers the nose and mouth. Face shields are not considered a substitute for a mask.

Anyone found not wearing a mask in an indoor public place, or who refuses to comply with an enforcement officer, can be subject to a $230 fine.

The province is asking people to report contraventions of the mask order by contacting a local bylaw office. 

“Local bylaw officers can help follow up on concerns and engage police departments and WorkSafeBC as necessary,” according to the statement.

Otherwise, the province says, people can contact their local police department’s non-emergency line. 

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