VANCOUVER -- Several dozen people took to the streets of downtown Vancouver Sunday to assert their right to go mask-less during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We should always have the freedom to choose. Always. No matter what,” said Alicia Johnson, one of the attendees.

“I respect people who choose to wear a mask, but I choose not to. I think it compromises my health. I think it compromises other people’s health,” said a woman named Danielle, who did not want to give her last name.

The BC Centre for Disease Control and Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, recommend masks in crowded places where there is not space to physically distance, but have stopped short of making them mandatory.

Before passengers board, BC Ferries asks them if they have a mask, but the face coverings are not required to be worn onboard.

TransLink also highly recommends people use masks but has not made them a requirement to use the transit system.

The group opposed to mandatory mask rules says it has seen such policies instituted in other parts of the country, including the City of Toronto and the province of Quebec. They fear it is only a matter of time before masks become required in public in B.C.

“Ok, so masks, first of all they’re unhealthy. I’ve tried wearing masks,” said a man name Bernard who also refused to provide a last name. “They cut down the amount of oxygen that goes to your brain.”

In places where masks have been made mandatory in Canada, there is an exemption for people with medical conditions or disabilities that mask-wearing may exacerbate.

The group opposed to mask requirements briefly disrupted traffic as they marched from Jack Poole Plaza up Burrard Street to Davie Street before returning to the convention centre for more speeches.