Masks will be required in retail and indoor public places, except for schools, as part of the new COVID-19 directives announced yesterday.  The provincial health officer said it’s important for employees to feel protected at work, however Dr. Bonnie Henry still maintains The “layers of protection” in schools, mean such a mandate is not necessary there.  Masks should also be worn in workplaces when in shared areas and in places where physical distancing isn’t possible, such as elevators.  She clarified that if someone is eating or drinking, they don’t need to wear a mask. Further details on mask requirements and enforcement will be released in the coming week.

 

Restrictions in place for the Fraser Health and Vancouver Health regions have been extended two more weeks and expanded to include the rest of the province.  British Columbians are to only socialize with their “immediate household,” All in-person religious services are banned for two weeks, and gatherings under 50 people that were previously allowed aren’t anymore. There is an exception for funerals, weddings, and baptisms with fewer than 10 people.

 

Dr. Henry also instructing employers to keep people working from home as much as possible until the new year.  Restaurants and bars are still allowed to stay open under the new restrictions.  It is not an order, but Henry echoed her early calls and that of the premier the day before: only travel if it is necessary.  B-C recorded 538 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday and one death.  It brings the total number of cases to 24-thousand-960.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won’t be sitting alongside chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam when she delivers stark COVID-19 projections this morning.  In an effort to drive home the message that everyone needs to stay home as much as possible, he’ll be speaking from outside Rideau Cottage, just like he did during the first wave of the pandemic.  Tam is expected to state that we could be seeing as many as 60-thousand new cases a day by the end of the year if people don’t limit their contact with anyone outside their households.

 

Pfizer it is asking the U-S Food and Drug Administration to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine before the final testing is complete.  If that is approved, limited first shots could roll out as early as next month.

 

The Surrey Police Service is one step closer to replacing the RCMP after hiring a chief of police, the Surrey Police Board has hired Norm Lipinski, currently the deputy chief of the Delta Police Department, to be the first chief of the city’s new municipal police force.  Lipinski has experience being both a Mountie and a municipal police officer. He spent years with the Edmonton Police Service before moving to the rank of assistant commissioner with the RCMP’s E Division in British Columbia, and then to his current role in Delta.