Facemasks can be worn to help protect those around you, and the BCCDC advises that they should be worn by people who are sick to prevent transmission to other people. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading when you cough or sneeze. Wearing a mask does not make it okay to go out but it can help prevent the spread of germs at home especially if you cannot separate yourself from others in the home.
If you are healthy, wearing a non-medical or cloth mask or face covering is a matter of personal choice but can help to protect others.
However, some organizations have introduced their own mask policies. See below for a list of locations where face masks are mandatory. Some people can spread the virus when they have very mild symptoms or may be unaware they are infected. Wearing a cloth mask will not protect you from COVID-19 but it is a good option in situations where you cannot keep a safe distance from others for an extended period of time such as when you are on transit, getting a haircut or visiting someone indoors. Do not put a face mask or any covering including visors and eye protection on infants under two years of age.
BC Transit, Translink and BC Ferries will be proceeding with mandatory use of face coverings while on-board all transit vehicles in communities across the Province as of Monday August 24, 2020. While face coverings will be mandatory, the policy will be implemented with a focus on awareness and education. For more information, including those exempt from this mandate, see BC Transit Coronavirus COVID-19 Information and Translink’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
Many individual stores, facilities and personal services businesses, such as hair salons, already require customers to wear a mask. If you do not already wear a mask while in indoor public spaces, it may be helpful to carry a mask with you in case you are asked to cover your face.
According to Transport Canada, all Canadian airlines require customers to wear masks while travelling when social distancing is not possible. Check your airline’s website for their mask policy prior to travelling.
Here is a list of stores, organizations and institutions across BC that require customers to wear masks:/p>
Any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing. For more information, visit the BCCDC.
Note: Some provinces have made masks mandatory in certain settings. Before travelling to another province, make sure you are aware of the new bylaws.