Photograph by Ani Kolleshi
An online petition calling for mandatory masks in all shared spaces across B.C. is gaining steam.
Vancouver’s Ben Hynes created it on change.org, addressing the petition to the Ministry of Health and provincial health officer, Doctor Bonnie Henry.
It’s already surpassed its 5,000 signature goal.
You can link to the petition here.
“We have a lot to be proud of with our pandemic response here in BC. Now is the time to capitalize on our hard work by mandating mandatory mask usage in shared public spaces,” Hynes said on the petition page.
“Projections show that masks are our most effective tool in the fight against COVID-19. See for yourself: projections on healthdata.org, a leading statistical analysis site for COVID-19 data, shows a direct correlation between mask usage and case count.”
Hynes noted that in Canada, current projections show that an additional 15 Canadians will die every day “if we do not act now.”
“For something as trivial as leaving the house with a cloth or medical mask, the answer is clear. Help safeguard our communities by signing this petition urging the BC Health Ministry to mandate mandatory mask usage in shared public spaces,” Hynes said.
He added that models suggest that mandatory mask usage could play a critical role in reducing measures of contagion.
“Historically, pandemics become much worse in the Fall and Winter. If we do not do everything we can now, we could be headed towards a disaster,” Hynes said.
Hynes said we “need to act smart, and navigate this crisis by letting the BC Health Ministry know that we are willing to do something as simple as wear masks to control this pandemic and save lives.”
“Together, we can get through this.”
This isn’t the first time in recent weeks that there’s been a call for mandatory masks in B.C.
Dozens of B.C. doctors have also asked the province to make masks mandatory, province-wide.
An open letter from the group Masks4Canada was addressed to provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C. health minister Adrian Dix, and Premier John Horgan.
Backed by more than 80 doctors, it asks for mandatory mask-wearing or the use of face coverings.
Dr. Henry said last month “We need to all collectively commit to keep doing what we’re doing to maintain those physical distances, to wear masks on transit, to wear masks in places where we can’t always consistently maintain those distances.”
She also said that it wasn’t her expectation that we will require mandatory masking in indoor spaces.
“We know that it is an additional layer, on top of the other layers that we use to keep each other safe,” she added.
Right now, masks are mandatory on BC Transit and TransLink buses, during flights, and on BC Ferries vessels.
Retail giants such as Walmart and Real Canadian Superstore have also adopted a mandatory mask policy.
And when school starts up next week, students and staff in middle and secondary schools must wear masks where physical distancing can’t be maintained.