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COVID-19: Face masks now mandatory at worship services in B.C.

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The Province of B.C. is imposing new restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said people attending worship services must now wear face masks, except for eating or drinking, or during religious ceremonies.

At a Tuesday (Nov. 30) press conference, she said that capacity is now limited to 50 per cent, unless everyone at the service is fully vaccinated, “in which case full capacity of 100 per cent can be used.”

“The province, as you know, has a proof of vaccine card available for faith services to use, but will allow flexibility for you and your congregations to work with congregates to provide proof of vaccination by other means,” Henry said.

“I know that many faith services have done this already, and many faith leaders are working with their own communities to make sure that we have these measures in place to protect people over this period of time.”

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Previously, religious observances had been exempt from the rule requiring everyone five and older to wear masks in indoor public spaces.

But with new variants continuing to emerge, including the Omicron variant of concern, Henry added that masking is an ‘important’ defence.

READ MORE: First Omicron COVID-19 case found in British Columbia

On the COVID-19 vaccine front, Henry reported that more than 91 per cent of those 12 and older in B.C. have received at least one shot, while almost 88 per cent have had two.

There were 358 new cases confirmed yesterday, but no new deaths.

The number of active cases has declined to 2,889, with 300 people in hospital and 104 of them in intensive care.

– with files from Vista Radio news wire

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