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B.C. government removes COVID-19 mandatory mask order

Starting July 1st B.C. will enter Stage Three of reopening, meaning many restrictions will be lifted including the mandatory mask order.

Provincial officials said with British Columbians achieving nearly 80-per cent adult Dose 1 vaccine coverage and cases continuing to decline, the provincial state of emergency will be lifted on Canada Day.

MORE: COVID-19 cases jump in Windermere and Fernie (June 24th, 2021)

“British Columbians have stepped up at every stage throughout this pandemic,” said Premier John Horgan. “We’ve helped our neighbours stay safe, we’ve sacrificed time with friends and family and we have diligently registered to get vaccinated. We’ve now reached a point in our vaccination efforts when we can begin to remove restrictions. Let’s continue to respect everyone’s comfort level as we safely take another step toward putting this pandemic behind us.”

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Other restrictions being lifted will include the reopening of casinos and nightclubs with some regulations in place, a return to normal for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings and Canada-wide recreational travel.

“Step 3 is a major milestone for British Columbians,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “We can now resume more of the activities and occasions we enjoy, workplaces and businesses will have more flexibility, and it opens the door for more economic activity as we transition into summer. We are able to take this step because of the work everyone is doing to keep themselves and each other safe.”

There will still be restrictions in place for certain businesses and activities, but capacity will be increased.

MORE: Stage 3 Regulations (B.C. government)

 Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer said this reopening was made possible by people getting vaccinated and following health orders.

“Because of the efforts of people in B.C., we continue to see a significant decline in new cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and deaths as the number of people who are fully immunized goes up,” Henry said. “Public health teams throughout the province are closely watching the case data to ensure we maintain this positive momentum as we safely and gradually move into Step 3 of our Restart plan.”

Henry said it’s important people continue to get vaccinated and receive their second dose of the vaccine.

Provincial officials said WorkSafeBC will help guide businesses into Stage 3 of reopening with a new communicable disease plan.

**Story by Josiah Spyker**

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