B.C.'s mask mandate applies to apartment and condo hallways, MLA says
VANCOUVER -- Update: While the B.C. government website once said masks are "required" in common areas of apartment buildings and condos, it has been updated to say masks are "strongly required" in those spaces.
British Columbia's new mask mandate applies to common hallways in condos and apartment buildings, according to updated guidance from the government.
The Ministry of Health website explaining the province's sweeping new COVID-19 measures didn't specifically address mask use in multi-unit residential buildings when it went online Thursday, but has since been updated to say masks are required in "common areas" of those properties.
The issue was raised earlier by NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, who said he'd been getting questions about the new policy.
"Neighbours have asked if the provincial mask mandate applies to common areas (elevators and hallways) in rental apartments and strata condos," Herbert tweeted on Friday. "The Ministry of Health confirmed for me that yes it does."
The MLA represents Vancouver's West End, which is said to be one of the densest neighbourhoods in North America due to the number of apartment and condo buildings.
According to the ministry, masks are mandatory "in all public indoor settings and spaces."
For workplaces, the guidance specifies that people should wear a mask in elevators, hallways, break rooms and anywhere else that physical distancing can't be maintained.
During her news conference on Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also stressed that some people are exempt from mask-wearing, including children under the age of two, people who are physically unable to put on their own mask, and anyone who is unable to wear one.
"We know that there are people with certain conditions and disabilities that, in some ways, would make mask-wearing challenging," she said. "And we need to be aware that some people's disabilities or inability to wear a mask may not be readily apparent."
The provincial health officer said people who can't wear a mask are not required to provide a doctor's note, or any other form of proof.
"We take people at their word," Henry said. "There is no way that we will force people to have medical notes, or other things."
Businesses can refuse entry or service to people who are capable of wearing a mask but simply choose not to, according to the government.
More information on the province's mask-wearing policy, and the other measures announced on Thursday, is available on the Ministry of Health website.