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Coronavirus: Masks now mandatory in Richmond, B.C., civic facilities

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: B.C. doctors applaud stronger stance on masks' Health Matters: B.C. doctors applaud stronger stance on masks
Health Matters: B.C. doctors applaud stronger stance on masks – Oct 28, 2020

People looking to access services in City of Richmond facilities will need to wear a mask, as of Sunday.

The policy, which took effect Nov. 1, came after a unanimous vote in city council as a measure to help spread the curb of COVID-19 in the city.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said he anticipates few hiccups with the new policy.

Read more: Vancouver council votes to ‘encourage’ masks in civic facilities rather than make them mandatory

“I don’t actually expect that much of a difference, because people were pretty good about it before,” Brodie told Global News Sunday.

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As a means of enforcing the new rule, Brodie said city staff will refuse service to people who refuse to mask up, unless they are a child or have a valid medical reason.

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Staff will also distribute free masks to anyone who needs one.

The full policy, including exceptions, can be viewed here.

Richmond has been a leader in Metro Vancouver when it comes to tackling COVID-19.

According to data from the B.C. Centre for Disease control, the Richmond health service delivery area have reported fewer than 400 cases of COVID per 100,000 people. That’s compared to more than 3,200 or 4,800 per 100,000 in the Vancouver and Fraser South health service delivery areas, respectively.

Read more: B.C.’s top doctor toughens tone on masks in public: ‘It is now the expectation’

Brodie said there is no single factor behind the region’s success.

“Certainly the prevalence of people wearing masks has been a factor,” he said.

“(Also) the fact that with our cultural makeup, people were on to the situation far earlier than average, and started socially distancing and staying away from crowded places.”

Richmond has a large Chinese Canadian population, many of whom still have family overseas.

In October, Vancouver city council rejected an attempt to make masks mandatory in civic facilities, opting instead for a gentler policy of “encouraging” them.

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