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British Columbians caught violating mandatory mask order can expect $230 fine

Last Updated Nov 25, 2020 at 10:50 am PDT

FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 file photo, manager Yllka Murati waits for a delivery driver to pick up takeout orders behind a partition displaying a sign to remind customers to wear a mask, at the Penrose Diner, in south Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Summary

You could be fined $230 if you violate B.C.'s new mandatory mask policy

Children under 12 years old and people with medical conditions are exempt

Public Safety Minister says police can be called in if someone becomes abusive or threatening

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – As the province’s longest-ever state of emergency is extended through to Dec. 8, mask enforcement measures are immediately taking effect.

On Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced anyone who doesn’t comply with the mandatory mask order in indoor public spaces could be looking at a $230 fine.

“Last week, the PHO provided guidance that masks should be worn in all indoor public places. This new order under the EPA will ensure we have the tools necessary to enforce the mask mandate as recommended by the PHO,” Farnworth said in a release.

The fine was announced the same day B.C. shattered records for daily cases of COVID-19, reporting 941 new infections on Tuesday.

British Columbians, 12 years and older, are required to wear a mask in these indoor public settings:

  • 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.

Fines don’t apply to children under age 12 and people with medical exemptions.

“A person may not be able to wear a mask for a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or due to a physical, cognitive or mental impairment,” Farnworth added.

For the current order, Farnworth said a mask or face covering is defined as a medical or non-medical mask that covers the nose and mouth. Face shields are not a substitute for a mask since there is an opening below the mouth.

“Education is key, which is why we’re having businesses review their plans and getting the word out to communities in several languages,” Farnworth said.

“Businesses should provide signage on the mandatory mask policy and inform customers about the requirement. Of course, despite any range of efforts, some people will break the rules knowing full well what they’re doing. These measures give police and other enforcement officials the tools to intervene with and penalize problematic individuals and groups.”

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Masks can be removed temporarily in indoor public places for identification, to eat or drink at a place designated for that purpose, while participating in a sport or fitness activity in a sports facility or while receiving a personal or health service that requires the mask to be removed.

If you would like to report someone violating the mask order, you are asked to contact your local government’s bylaw office.

But police can also be dispatched if someone becomes threatening or abusive.

As of Nov. 20, 64 tickets — collectively worth $70,000 — have been issued to people violating federal quarantine laws.

That’s on top of almost $84,000 linked to 59 tickets handed out to other rule-breakers.

They include house party hosts and guests, along with business owners violating liquor sale restrictions.