B.C. reintroduces mandatory mask policy, including for students in Grades 4 and up

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VICTORIA — British Columbia is reintroducing a public health order requiring people to wear masks in all indoor public spaces starting Wednesday to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The order will also extend to students in Grade 4 and up at the start of the school year.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the order will be reassessed in mid-October when the province fully implements a card showing proof of immunization for those entering restaurants, theatres and events.

Henry says about 75 per cent of B.C. residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but that number needs to be higher as the Delta variant drives up case counts, putting those who are unvaccinated at greater risk of contracting the virus.

Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside says vaccines have made it possible for students to look forward to the resumption of safe in-person, full-time learning and extracurricular activities.

She encouraged eligible students to get vaccinated, saying only 57 per cent of youth between 12 and 17 are fully immunized.

Post-secondary students living on campus will have to be vaccinated, and Henry says colleges and universities have the option of requiring faculty and staff to be immunized.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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