August 24, 2021
Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues,
This morning, the provincial government announced masks will once again be mandatory in all indoor public spaces effective tomorrow (Wednesday, August 25, 2021).
Government says this is to help slow the transmission of COVID-19 as BC prepares for the ‘fall and respiratory illness season.’
A new order from the provincial health officer (a copy of the order is not yet available) will require people 12 and older to wear masks in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. These settings include:
- 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 (unless seated)
- on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle
- areas of office buildings where services to the public are provided
- common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity
- common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations
- inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors and students in grades 4-12
This temporary order will be reassessed as the BC vaccine card requirement is fully implemented in certain social and recreational settings, as announced on August 23.
For the purposes of this order, 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, as there is an opening below the mouth.
People who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others are exempt. 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.
Masks may be removed temporarily in indoor public places to identify the individual wearing the mask, to consume food or beverage at a location designated for this purpose, while participating in a sport or fitness activity in a sport facility or while receiving a personal or health service that requires the mask to be removed.
Proof of Vaccination Requirement: do staff need to be vaccinated?
Yesterday, Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced preliminary details of a Proof of Vaccination Requirement for British Columbia. Beginning September 13, British Columbians will be required to demonstrate a BC Vaccine Card to access certain settings and businesses.
A new order from the provincial health officer will require individuals to provide proof of vaccination to access a broad range of social, recreational, and discretionary events and businesses throughout the province.
As of September 13, one dose of vaccine will be required for entry to these settings. By October 24, entry to these settings will require people to be fully vaccinated at least seven days after receiving both doses. To enter certain spaces, including indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor and patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres, casinos and indoor organized events, like conferences and weddings, people aged 12 and older will be required to show their proof of vaccination.
For more information, please read yesterday’s update.
Are staff required to be vaccinated?
ABLE BC has not heard anything about requiring staff to be vaccinated, though we recommend that your house policy requires vaccinations. Here’s an article we published with some tips on how to do it, and why it’s more complicated than it seems.
We will update industry as soon as possible if anything changes about staff requirements. We imagine this situation will evolve between now and the September 13 roll out.
Interior Health Restrictions
On August 20, 2021, government announced additional restrictions for the Central Okanagan region, which were expanded to the entire Interior Health region:
- Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces for people 12 years and older
- Low-intensity indoor group exercise is permitted to a maximum of 10 people per high. High-intensity indoor group exercise is not permitted.
- Outdoor group exercise is permitted up to 50 people per class.
- Gatherings in vacation rentals are limited to five guests or one additional household
- Indoor personal gatherings are limited to five guests or one other household
- Outdoor personal gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people
- Organized indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people and outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people, both requiring a COVID-19 safety plan
The previous orders for central Okanagan food and liquor establishments remain in place:
- Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed at food and liquor establishments for groups up to six people and liquor service must stop at 10:00 pm
- Casinos may remain open with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place
- Nightclubs and bars are ordered to close unless they have full meal service
To clarify: the mask and gatherings and events orders were extended to the entire Interior Health region.
The restrictions for food and liquor establishments are only in place in the Central Okanagan (Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, and Lake Country).
For more information, please read the public orders:
- Gatherings and Events COVID-19 Order for Interior Health Authority
- Mandatory Masks and Face Coverings Interior Health COVID-19 Order
- Interior Health news release on August 20, 2021
- Interior Health news release on August 6, 2021
If you have any other questions, please contact ABLE BC: firstname.lastname@example.org.