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Fines for people not wearing masks in indoor public spaces

Public Safety minister, Mike Farnworth, says B.C. is in the second wave of COVID-19, and the new health order regarding masks that was issued last week is necessary to protect our health.

People can now be fined $230 if they are found to not be wearing a mask while in indoor public spaces.

Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made masks mandatory inside those public spaces for people 12 years and older.

People who cannot wear a mask or cannot put on or remove one without assistance are exempt.

Individuals are required to wear masks in:

  • 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;
  • places of public worship;
  • on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • common areas of office buildings, court houses, hospitals and hotels;
  • common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity; and
  • common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations.

The new measures have been implemented under the province’s Emergency Program Act.

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Farnworth says his ministerial order is designed to create a coordinated response to the COVID-19 mask rules and make sure enforcement officers have what they need to enforce the mask mandate.

The province has also extended the provincial state of emergency, giving health and emergency management officials continued authority to support BC’s pandemic response.

The state of emergency has been extended through to December 8, 2020.

  • Masks are not recommended for children under the age of two, but should be encouraged for children aged two to 12 in public settings. Children over 12 must wear a mask in a public indoor space, unless they are exempt.
  • Violation tickets expand the Province’s compliance and enforcement toolkit to support the COVID-19 response. Police and other provincial compliance and enforcement officers will independently exercise discretion to issue tickets for EPA order violations under the Offence Act’s Violation Ticket Administration and Fines Regulation.
  • If violation tickets do not act as a deterrent, or in cases of particularly egregious contraventions or for repeat offenders, police can recommend charges in relation to the offence.
  • Between Aug. 21 and Nov. 20, 2020, 59 violation tickets were issued, including 25 $2,300 tickets to owners or organizers contravening the PHO’s order on gatherings and events, nine $2,300 violation tickets for contravention of the PHO Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order and 25 $230 tickets issued to individuals who refuse to comply with direction from law enforcement.
  • Additionally, since the pandemic began, police agencies in British Columbia have issued 64 violation tickets to individuals who are in contravention of the Federal Quarantine Act, totalling $70,000. The purpose of the Quarantine Act is to protect public health by taking comprehensive measures to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.
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