Mandatory masks? Not yet says Dr. Bonnie

Mandatory masks? Not yet says Dr. Bonnie

British Columbia will not be imposing mandatory mask requirements in public places to help fight COVID-19 the province’s top doctor said this week.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wouldn’t rule the idea out in a situation where B.C. saw a massive surge in community transmission, but that the option is not currently on the table.

Henry’s comments came after the CBC reported a B.C. doctor is heading to court seeking an injunction that would require masks in indoor spaces such as transit, restaurants or schools.

“Right now I do not believe that there is sufficient community spread that we are at that point where mandatory masking, which is a rather heavy-handed approach, is needed,” Henry told reporters at her Thursday briefing.

“We know that it is in additional layer on top of the other layers we use to keep each other safe, and it is the least effective of the many layers we have.”

Henry added that there are British Columbians who cannot effectively wear masks and would be stigmatized by such a policy.

However, she said she continues to “recommend strongly” the use of masks in any situation where people are unable to maintain two metres of physical distance.

TransLink is asking passengers to wear a mask while riding transit, and a number of B.C. private businesses have done the same. Some, such as hair stylists or tattoo artists require them under a public health order.

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