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Surrey woman with autoimmune disorder feels trapped in home without mask policy

Last Updated Dec 7, 2020 at 11:58 am PST

Dorit Dopson, 71, has an autoimmune disorder and is calling on the province to require masks in common areas of apartments and condos following confusion over whether face coverings were already mandated in those buildings.  (Courtesy @caroline_productions)
Summary

Dorit Dopson has an autoimmune disorder and feels trapped in her home after an order turned out to be a recommendation

Despite some confusion, masks in common areas of apartment and condos buildings aren't mandatory in B.C.

Dopson is calling on the province to actually mandate masks in apartment and condo buildings

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Dorit Dopson is afraid to leave her home because of COVID-19 and confusion over mask policies in apartments and condo buildings.

The 71-year-old South Surrey senior has an autoimmune disorder, and was relieved when Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made masks mandatory in some indoor public spaces last month. Signs went up around her building and people started wearing masks.

Dopson says she felt comfortable moving through the building’s hallways and going outside for her daily walk during that time.

Now, she says she’s extremely disappointed and frustrated that what many believed was a mandatory order, was never enforceable.

“It’s a situation that I’m really uncomfortable with,” Dopson says. “I don’t know what one person can do to make a point, but hopefully, I can make a point that I look very healthy. If you look at me, you wouldn’t say ‘Oh wow there’s somebody that’s sick.’ I’m not sick, I have a condition that I manage with medicine, but again, I’m compromised.”

MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert tweeted the day after Henry’s announcement that he had verified with the Ministry of Health that the order applied to apartments and condos.


But when a written advisory from the province came out, it said masks were only recommended and the signs around her building came down.


“And they’re suggesting we wear masks, but, of course, as everywhere right now, it’s not something that everybody wants to do,” Dopson says. “So I pretty much feel like I’m imprisoned in my home, waiting for somebody to resurrect the order that I thought was there.”

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Dopson wants the province to actually make masks mandatory in common areas of buildings like hers. In the meantime, she is asking everyone to wear a mask, regardless of what the rules are.

“I think for the people who are on the fence about this … when they see these changes back and forth, back and forth, it almost encourages them to say, ‘Well yeah, when they said it then it wasn’t necessary, so why do you think I have to do it?’

“I think we need a policy and we need to stick to it,” she says.

Henry is set to update the current provincial health order Monday afternoon when she will extend or lift current restrictions.