Her commentary comes with a renewed call from a number of sectors for the province to impose a full mask requirement for all public indoor spaces and other areas that may be a risk to the spread of COVID.
Towards the prospect of mask Mandate, Doctor Henry outlines the following.
Some people are asking when we will see masks mandated in B.C. The answer is that they already are. The mandate to use masks appropriately is a cornerstone of businesses’ and organizations’ COVID-19 safety plans, and is embedded in our health-care facilities’ operational policies and restart protocols in other public institutions.
Despite how it might appear when we watch the news or go on social media, research shows that most of us in B.C. are doing the right things most of the time. Ordering universal mask use in all situations creates unnecessary challenges with enforcement and stigmatization. We need only look at the COVID-19 transmission rates in other jurisdictions that have tried using such orders to see what little benefit these orders by themselves have served. We also know that when orders and fines are in place, it is racialized people and those living in poverty or homeless who are most often targeted.
Part of her review on the theme, also notes that much of the current surge in cases is coming from areas where people may not be wearing a mask anyways and how the use of masks is included in part of the COVID safety plans in place by businesses and workplaces.Each day, we are continuing to learn more about the virus and how it spreads. Right now, we are seeing rapid transmission in social gatherings where masks would not be worn anyway, in certain workplaces and risky indoor settings, like group fitness activities. Provincial health officer orders are always a last resort and we have used them carefully to address these recent trends.