British Columbians can now be charged up to $230 for not wearing a mask in indoor public spaces. 

The new enforcement measure was announced by the province’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth earlier this week. 

“Last week, the PHO [Provincial Health Officer] provided guidance that masks should be worn in all indoor public places. This new order under the EPA [Emergency Program Act] will ensure we have the tools necessary to enforce the mask mandate as recommended by the PHO,” said Farnworth in a release.

As it stands, BC residents must wear a mask in the following indoor public places: retail and grocery stores, malls, liquor and drug stores, restaurants, airports, city buildings, recreation centres, in places of worship, common areas and a number of other locations. 

The fines will not apply to anyone who is under the age of 12 or has a medical exemption from mask-wearing. 

“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,” said Farnworth. 

“Businesses should provide signage on the mandatory mask policy and inform customers about the requirement. Of course, despite any range of efforts, some people will break the rules knowing full well what they’re doing. These measures give police and other enforcement officials the tools to intervene with and penalize problematic individuals and groups.”

BC has seen an uptick in cases over the past few weeks. Yesterday, 13 people died from the coronavirus while another 738 new cases were also reported. 

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