Cloth or disposable face masks provide another means of protection in response to COVID-19. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Column: Masks may need to become mandatory to get a handle on COVID-19

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

  • Jul. 24, 2020 6:30 a.m.

If you don’t already own a protective face covering, let alone have started wearing it during public outings, you may want to pick one up soon.

The B.C. government has yet to make the mask use mandatory, though almost daily our provincial health officer and health minister remind us we should be wearing protective face coverings in circumstances where physical distancing may be difficult.

That message was again repeated in Dr. Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix’s joint statement of Wednesday, July 22, when they touched on the spike of 35 new active cases of COVID-19. The two noted there were several community exposure events and one active community outbreak being addressed.

As of July 22, approximately 1,000 people were in self-isolation in relation to 70 active cases in Kelowna linked to public gatherings on Canada Day. Henry said she was in discussion with Interior Health on enacting health restrictions specific to the Okanagan.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran stressed those who are out in public need to play by the rules.

“Act as if the group next to you, somebody in that group may have COVID,” said Basran.

The Observer has received several messages from people concerned about what they’re seeing while out shopping or in public spaces – others who are not respecting physical distancing guidelines and/or not wearing masks. Those concerned citizens stressed the point that we’re not yet out of the woods, and there is no place for complacency amidst a pandemic.

One reader advised concerned citizens to contact Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison and Interior Health. Interestingly, if there is an order on making masks mandatory, it may come not from the province, but from local government.

Read more: Two individuals with COVID-19 traced to District on Bernard in Kelowna

Read more: Interior Health identifies COVID-19 exposure at Browns Socialhouse in Kelowna

As of Aug. 1, masks will be mandatory at all indoor public spaces and on all public vehicles within the City of Calgary. Mayor Naheed Nenshi said this bold action is needed now if we want schools to open and do not want to close down the economy again. Calgary’s website stated this temporary bylaw mandating face coverings was informed by feedback from more than 2,000 local businesses and City of Calgary operations.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District recently echoed the recommendations from Henry and Dix on the use of masks. This was after the CSRD directors raised concerns that “citizens are becoming too lax” regarding efforts to flatten the curve.

Even if they aren’t made mandatory, masks are quickly becoming the accessory no one should be without.

Lachlan Labere is editor for the Salmon Arm Observer.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Morning Start: Women can give birth after they die

Your morning start for Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020

Morning Start: The Exorcist film set was haunted

Your morning start for Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020

$45K in donations received after Pitt Meadows woman, man die in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Former Summerlander receives Emmy nomination for makeup work

Lucky Bromhead recognized for her work with Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek

The Okanagan’s first Arabic store opens in Kelowna

The store is located in Kelowna’s Landmark District

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

VIDEO: Revelstoke rallies to save snared eagle

Local climber scales tree to save the raptor

Most Read