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This anonymous Instagram account is reviewing COVID-19 safety measures at B.C. establishments

"This is not your average food blog/review."
hand sanitizer and re-open sign
Hand sanitizer and reopening sign in shop. Photo: Getty Images

Unless you've been living under a rock for several months, you've likely noticed we are living in #uncertaintimes.

As most of the province remains open for business, part of that general uncertainty stems from the question of whether the COVID-19 safety precautions currently in place are enough. While B.C.'s provincial health officer has implemented a set of guidelines businesses are expected to follow, it's difficult to know just how stringent a business' safety measures are before walking through its front doors.

Luckily, one creative Vancouverite has taken it upon themselves to share their experiences visiting B.C. establishments during a pandemic, in an effort to give British Columbians a wealth of information to draw from the next time they're choosing where to go for dinner or whether heading to the movies is worth the risk.

In their Instagram bio, @maskson_yvr says the account offers "Transparent reviews from different establishments in BC to see if they follow covid safety measures," and invites followers to send a DM with suggestions of businesses to review.

A highlighted story warns readers that "this is not your average food blog/review."

The anonymous individual behind the account told Vancouver Is Awesome that the idea was born from conversations with family and friends. 

"During the pandemic, I felt that it was quite the struggle to convince my family and friends that it’s ok to be anxious and aware of what’s going on and that we should be careful," they wrote in an email. "Right after lockdown, it was even tougher to get some out for a simple lunch/dinner. I wanted to somehow show them that most places are following COVID safety practices."

Since Sept. 29, the account has reviewed more than 10 different establishments throughout Metro Vancouver, ranging from a spa and a movie theatre to bars, restaurants and breweries, and awarding each business a safety score out of five.

Each review takes note of safety precautions like contact tracing, hand sanitizer availability, mask-wearing requirements, physical distancing and even washroom cleanliness. 

(Spoiler alert: Thankfully for the status of B.C.'s pandemic recovery, most of them fall on the positive side.)

"I’ve always been cautious and noticed differences in how establishments [were implementing] their own safety procedures right after things started opening up, and so when I do write these reviews, I’ll try to be as transparent and honest on if I do feel safe coming back, or I don’t," @maskson_yvr explained. 

While the Instagram user behind the account says feedback from family and friends who follow along "has been positive and thankful," one follower in particular even reached out to share that he finally decided to take his family to the movies after @maskson_yvr's safety review for a Cineplex location eased his concerns.

"This is all I wanted, I wanted to make sure everyone felt safe," they wrote. 

"I’ve been in establishments where I’m just thinking, 'Holy I don’t want any of my friends or family to come here' because of how safe I felt with the procedures, if any. However, there are loads of places I would say I underestimated in terms of their [COVID-safe] procedures, and those places should be acknowledged for their well done work!

Scroll down to have a look through @maskson_yvr's reviews: