British Columbia

Where do you need to wear a mask in B.C.? Here are some places where they are mandatory

B.C. has no provincewide mandate for mask-wearing, but many businesses and organizations have mandates of their own. Here is a list of prominent locations where masks are mandatory.

BCCDC says masks can help prevent spread of coronavirus but other measures required

Jason Zanatta, owner of Novo Textiles Co. is pictured holding a surgical mask. Policies around mask wearing in B.C. have been instituted by some organizations and businesses but there is no provincial mandate ordering them to be worn. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. has no provincewide mandate for mask-wearing, but many businesses and organizations have policies of their own.

Here is a list of prominent locations and organizations that have made masks mandatory.

As the coronavirus pandemic develops and changes in British Columbia, so too have policies on face coverings. As a result, this list is likely to change over time and may not be exhaustive.

In most cases, these policies have exemptions for people with certain medical conditions and for young children. There may also be exemptions for some workers who are behind Plexiglas barriers or taking other precautions.

People are pictured at a Skytrain station on the first day of TransLink’s mandatory mask rule on August 24. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control advises masks can help protect others from catching the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, especially in situations where physical distancing is not possible.

"Any mask, no matter how good it is at catching droplets or how well it seals, will have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing," the centre adds.

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BC Transit: Anyone on BC Transit buses must wear a face covering. There are exemptions for certain passengers and employees.

TransLink: Anyone on a TransLink vehicle must wear a non-medical mask or face covering, with some exemptions. TransLink says branded cards are available for people with underlying medical conditions who cannot wear masks.

BC Ferries: All passengers on vessels and at terminals are required to wear masks. In addition to medical exemptions, passengers in their vehicles are exempt along with passengers eating food while maintaining physical distance.

Air travel: Transport Canada states travellers must have a non-medical mask while travelling. The mask must be worn at check-in in the airport, at the boarding gate, while in flight when physical distancing is not possible and when asked to by airline staff.


Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills: Superstore and No Frills, owned by parent company Loblaw, made masks mandatory in stores as of Aug. 29.

T&T Supermarkets: Another supermarket chain owned by Loblaw, T&T has had mandatory mask policies in place since May.

Walmart: Walmart stores across Canada have asked shoppers to wear masks since mid-August.

Whole Foods Market: Whole Foods has required masks in its stores since July.

Ikea: Ikea's B.C. stores, in Richmond and Coquitlam, require customers to wear masks as of Aug. 31.

Health care

LifeLabs: LifeLabs, Canada's largest lab testing company, asks visitors to bring masks for when physical distancing is not possible.

Hospitals, long-term care: Visitors to Fraser Health, Interior Health and Island Health locations such as long-term care facilities are obligated to wear masks. Visitors to hospitals may have to wear masks in certain situations and at the direction of staff.

Public institutions

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia: ICBC says it will provide masks to customers taking road tests and for other situations where physical distancing is not possible. ICBC says masks will need to be worn during road tests.


K-12 schools: All staff and students in B.C. middle and secondary schools will have to wear masks in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained, according to the provincial government.

Post-secondary schools: UBC, Simon Fraser University, Capilano University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Douglas College, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the Justice Institute of British Columbia and Emily Carr University of Art and Design require masks in at least some situations, usually when physical distancing is not possible.


Whistler Blackcomb: Vail Resorts, the company that owns Whistler Blackcomb, says face coverings will be required in all indoor spaces, including gondolas, chairlifts, dining halls, and even outdoor lift line-ups.

Science World: Masks are mandatory for all visitors aged six and older.

Sea to Sky Gondola: As of Sept. 4, visitors will need to wear masks in common areas, including in lineups, in gondola cabins and on the suspension bridge. Exemptions exist for people on hiking trails where distances can be maintained and for people eating or drinking while seated at a table.


Starbucks: Starbucks announced that beginning Sept. 14, all customers in its stores will be required to wear face coverings.


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