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Masks will be mandatory indoors on all UBC campuses starting next week

A mandatory mask policy goes into effect at UBC
UBC University Affairs Director Matthew Ramsay discusses the university's move to make masks mandatory and how UBC is tackling the ongoing financial impact of COVID-19.

The University of British Columbia will be requiring anyone on one of their campuses to wear a mask starting next week.

Effective Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, UBC students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to wear non-medical masks, when indoors on campus. This changes the previous policy which strongly recommended the use of non-medical masks in these settings.

“The health and safety of the UBC community is our first priority, and we continue to monitor COVID-19 and follow effective safety practices as [an] understanding of the virus evolves,” UBC president Santa Ono wrote in an open letter to students.

“The requirement to wear non-medical masks indoors recognizes that transmission is reduced when face masks are worn in conjunction with physical distancing and other safety practices.”

Mandatory Masks: Translink riders have to mask up
Mandatory Masks: Translink riders have to mask up

The requirement for the use of non-medical masks applies to shared indoor spaces within UBC buildings, such as hallways, stairways, building entryways, washrooms and study spaces, classrooms, common areas in residences and other high-traffic areas.

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Exceptions will be provided for people with underlying medical conditions that inhibit their ability to wear masks.

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Masks may also be removed when taking part in certain athletic or fitness activities and in situations where wearing a mask impedes the activity.

“Even when wearing a mask, please continue to observe physical distancing as much as possible, as a mask is not a substitute for this practice,” Ono wrote.

“For those who are not able to wear a mask, for medical or other reasons, please be careful to maintain a safe distance for the protection of yourself and those around you.”

Masks mandatory on BC Ferries and public transit starting Monday
Masks mandatory on BC Ferries and public transit starting Monday

Masks’ policies have been evolving across British Columbia.

Transit riders were originally encouraged to wear masks but in August both TransLink and BC Transit switched to a mandatory mask policy. Based on information from TransLink mask-wearing went up from about 40 per cent of riders to over 90 per cent of riders.

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The B.C. government is encouraging anyone in the K to 12 school system to wear a mask. Some schools have a mask requirement for high traffic areas like hallways.