B.C. ‘seriously’ considering return of province-wide mask mandate, health minister says
A province-wide mask mandate may return to B.C.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the B.C. government is “seriously” considering the possibility of making masks mandatory in indoor spaces throughout the province.
Last week, health officials reintroduced a mask mandate for everyone over 12 years of age in the Interior Health region, due to climbing cases and hospitalizations, primarily among unvaccinated people.
“If you’re unvaccinated in B.C. today, the numbers show that you have a dramatically higher chance of contracting COVID 19 and transmitting COVID 19, and you need to take other actions until you get vaccinated,” Dix said.
“I think it’s really important for everyone to understand where transmission occurs. That primarily occurs in indoor social settings — not in grocery stores, but indoor social settings.”
Right now, outside of Interior Health, masks are recommended in indoor spaces for people over the age of 12 who are not yet fully vaccinated, but they are not required.
However, the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant means cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 are steadily increasing in all parts of the province.
Unvaccinated people currently account for about 90 per cent of COVID-19 cases in B.C., and 93 per cent of hospitalizations. The risk of infection is about 10 times higher for people who aren’t vaccinated, according to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
On Monday, the province announced its that proof of COVID-19 vaccination will soon be required for anyone who wants to attend recreational events and gatherings, such as concerts, sporting events, movies, restaurants, nightclubs, casinos and fitness classes.
Officials also said B.C. would not move into Step 4 of the restart plan on Sept. 7 as initially intended.