The provincial mask mandate that was set to expire on Halloween has been extended.
After removing a provincial health order on July 1 that required mandatory masking in all indoor public spaces, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was forced to re-implement the measure on Aug. 24 as cases began to surge.
In August, Henry announced it would be in place until Oct. 31.
In a statement today (Oct. 29), the province announced Henry has extended it to "continue to slow the transmission of COVID-19."
“The requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces is being extended during this time of higher transmission of COVID-19 in communities.
"This important layer of protection will help make all of us safer, along with practising hand hygiene regularly, staying away if sick and, most importantly, getting fully vaccinated.”
No date of expiry for the extended order was given.
Masks are required in all indoor public settings for those five years of age and older, regardless of vaccination statuses.
Settings included are:
- 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
- Inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students
“Throughout this pandemic, we have all been taking steps to keep our communities safe, and we must continue to do so,” Health Minister Adrian Dix added in the announcement.
"Getting vaccinated and wearing a mask are important steps we can all take to stay healthy, protect our health-care system, support health-care workers and support one another.”
Officials say masks are allowed to be removed temporarily in indoor public spaces in the following situations:
- 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