British Columbians will now be required to wear masks in public spaces, including shopping malls, civic facilities, grocery stores and local civic facilities.

“This means if you are at work, at your desk, you do not need to wear a mask,” said Provincial Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry, as the province reported 538 new cases of COVID-19, including 11 in Northern Health.

However, this new order does not include schools Doctor Henry explained.

“But, if you are in a shared workspace, a common space or a public space, like elevators, hallways or other common areas, you do.”

Health Officials introduced region-specific measures on November 7, and have expanded them in an effort to battle the second wave of COVID-19.

The gathering limit previously in place for Vancouver and Fraser Health has now been extended to the rest of the province; residents will not be allowed to gather with anyone outside of their immediate household or core bubble until December 7.

“We need to go back to what we were doing in April, and May and March, where we had our pandemic bubble,” said Doctor Henry.

In today’s (Thursday) COVID-19 briefing, It was noted most transmission has come from close knit social gatherings, and not interactions between workers and the public.

However, Doctor Henry admitted her stance on mandatory masks had changed upon hearing the concerns voiced by business owners worried about mask enforcement.

In Prince George, the City has notified the public that masks are to be mandatory in all civic facilities immediately.

Employees and visitors who are not wearing masks will be denied entry and asked to leave.

This order does not apply to visitors with medical exemptions or those who are under the age of two years.

Also in accordance with today’s Public Health Orders, no spectators are allowed at any indoor or outdoor sport at civic arenas and the Aquatic Centre.

Sport teams travelling from outside of Prince George will not be able to participate in sporting events at City facilities.