Opinion: Washington makes masks mandatory. What’s stopping B.C.?

Chris Campbell

Big news from our friends just south of the border as Washington state will require people to wear facial coverings in public settings, under a statewide public health order announced by Gov. Jay Inslee due to COVID-19.

That’s good news to hear because it seems someone in the U.S. is finally taking this more seriously as cases surge in America.

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Now, what’s stopping B.C. from doing the same thing?

The order starts on Friday and requires face coverings when people are indoor in a public area, and outdoors in a public area when two metres of physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Washington joins several other states that already have statewide mask orders in place, including California, which issued its order last week.

Violating this rule is considered a misdemeanour, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 U.S. fine.

Things are changing rapidly as health officials learn more about COVID-19 and update their recommendations. Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, is now recommending people wear non-medical face masks, especially when physical distancing isn’t possible.

Do we really want our neighbours to the south being more vigilant than B.C.?

I know B.C. has some impressive numbers when it comes to COVID-19, but as more of our society reopens – including, for example, recreation centres – adding mandatory masks would be that extra step to ensuring things don’t backfire.

Many businesses, including T&T and Whole Foods have gone this route.

I've gotten used to wearing a mask while shopping and doing other errands. You will too.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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