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Coronavirus: Mask-wearing now mandatory at Vancouver Art Gallery

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Six weeks after it reopened amid COVID-19, the Vancouver Art Gallery says it will now require visitors to wear a mask when browsing its collection.

The mandatory requirement comes into effect on Friday.

Visitors can also opt for a face shield if they prefer.

Read more: No plans for ‘heavy-handed’ mandatory mask policy, says B.C.’s top doctor

“Like physical distancing and frequent handwashing, there is growing evidence that shows that the public use of masks or face coverings help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said VAG interim director Daina Augaitis in a media release.

“The health and safety of gallery visitors continues to be a top priority for us and the required use of masks will help ensure that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable art experience.”

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The new mask requirement is in addition to previous measures the gallery has implemented to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

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Visitors must book timed-entry tickets in advance, and complete a contact-tracing procedure.

Visitors must also maintain a two-metre distance form others and are asked to stay away if they are ill.

READ MORE: Mask myths, debunked: No, wearing a mask won’t ‘shut down’ your immune system

The art gallery joins other Vancouver attractions such as Science World and the Vancouver Aquarium, which require adults to wear a mask while visiting.

B.C. health officials have resisted issuing a mandatory order requiring masks to be worn in indoor public spaces, though a number of other Canadian jurisdictions have taken the step.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie says she recommends that masks be worn anywhere that physical distancing can not be maintained, and has not ruled out a mandatory order should the province see a major spike in new cases.

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