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Capital Letters: COVID-19 mandates lifting in BC amid 6th wave

As Canada’s top doctor announces the country is in a sixth wave of COVID-19, Capital Daily readers weigh in on the province’s decision to lift vaccine and mask-related mandates

In your words
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Capital Letters: COVID-19 mandates lifting in BC amid 6th wave

As Canada’s top doctor announces the country is in a sixth wave of COVID-19, Capital Daily readers weigh in on the province’s decision to lift vaccine and mask-related mandates

Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses media in British Columbia. Photo: BC Government/Flickr
Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses media in British Columbia. Photo: BC Government/Flickr
In your words
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Capital Letters: COVID-19 mandates lifting in BC amid 6th wave

As Canada’s top doctor announces the country is in a sixth wave of COVID-19, Capital Daily readers weigh in on the province’s decision to lift vaccine and mask-related mandates

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Capital Letters: COVID-19 mandates lifting in BC amid 6th wave
Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses media in British Columbia. Photo: BC Government/Flickr

On Tuesday morning, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, told reporters that the latest pandemic wave had arrived across the country.

“There has been a rise in COVID-19 activity everywhere,” she said. The BC government, meanwhile, has recently lifted vaccine and mask-related mandates, with Dr. Bonnie Henry telling British Columbians, “There is no magic moment to lift restrictions … There’s no amount of delaying that will make it absolutely safe all the time.”

We asked Capital Daily readers what you thought about BC’s decision, and our inboxes overflowed. Below, we've printed a few representative samples—and also included graphs to provide greater insight into the responses of the 115 people who replied.

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52.2% wish public health restrictions would stay in place

Most common reason for supporting end of restrictions: Feeling that mandates are ineffective in preventing spread

Most common reason for wanting mandates to continue: Being in a high-risk population

After-effects cause for concern

I teach students in China. Three of my families are dealing with lockdown and get short exercise periods [which they] use to also go get food. I told my oldest student that here is the opposite, even though the 6th wave is confirmed. 

The student asked, why did I think they were doing this? I have this thing about answering a student’s direct questions with a direct answer. I said, I personally believe they want us to get it now to increase community immunity. She looked at me wide-eyed and said, “but considering the possible after-effects, that doesn’t make sense.”

Linda Conn

Time to move on

It’s about time!! It’s now a common cold/flu virus… time to build natural immunity.

If people did their own research, they would see how this was too much for too long!

Hopefully people will be aware of their own health moving forward!

LindaBeth Greet

Feeling vulnerable

I'm a senior with disabilities, and I have been very much impacted by COVID-19, as far as isolation and [a] drastic change in how I live and socialize (don't now). [But] at least I was able to check daily to see what the numbers were doing, so I could decide what risks I was willing/able to take in order to get [outside], to [accomplish] basic daily tasks, to get groceries, and attend dental/doctor appointments. 

With the ending of public health updates, I feel extremely vulnerable .... far more so than before. I have friends who, despite receiving 3 vaccines (like me), have still gotten pretty sick from this virus... and they were healthier than I am. So I would have to say I am NOT at all happy about this slackening in both mandates and updates. 

Take care and remain mindful, as this virus ain't going anywhere .... that we'd like it to go at any rate.

Annie Pang

Will miss province’s regular COVID briefings

I am one of those immunocompromised seniors who has started going to movies, plays, concerts and restaurants already, and I like to keep up to date with the public health reports, so I will miss the regular briefings. 

I will have to rely on the media now, so I hope the authorities will put out regular detailed reports to guide us. I will continue to wear a mask everywhere, indoors and out, and get my 2nd booster as soon as I’m allowed, but I will still miss the authoritative voices of Bonnie Henry and [Adrian] Dix. 

Susan Garry

Part of our new normal

I feel like [we] need to get over COVID. There were flues before COVID, you know, and it's part of the landscape now.

Mark Bachynski

Lifting mask mandate premature

I am very uncomfortable with recent decisions to minimize COVID restrictions. I feel that lifting the vaccine card restriction is less important for the general public, since we can forgo activities where we are uncomfortable, but I feel that removal of the mask mandate is definitely premature.

My husband recently returned to work at the office where, in compliance with provincial rules, there is no mask mandate, nor restrictions for unvaccinated employees or visitors to the office. I babysit our 2-year-old grandson who is diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders and congenital heart disease.

How can we be sure that my husband is safe when sitting in a closed-door meeting? He will wear a mask at these meetings, but feels that he has to remove it when he speaks, which is often. How can he ensure that he is not in contact with unvaccinated people? Our concern is not for either of us, since we have both had boosters, but the possibility of infecting our grandson.

My husband will take a COVID test before each visit with our grandson, but we have seen evidence that rapid-response tests are often not reliable during early stages of COVID. 

It’s a difficult balancing act for us, now more difficult without a mask mandate.

Janice Okada

First line of defense has disappeared

How do I feel about all measures being dropped? Disgusted. Horrified. Afraid. 

I don’t care about vaccine passports, as we should be aware by now [that] the vaccine no longer stops [us from] getting COVID and spreading it to others. As such, masking and capacity limits are the first line of defense and they have done away with it. 

This government ignores science and data and is playing with our health, just like they play with everything else that matters, such as climate change.

Laura Morgan

Personal responsibility not enough

I am anxious. I am fearful. I am disappointed. I am sad. And I am angry.

It’s not enough to push the responsibility on to personal decisions. Many of us cannot make decisions on protecting ourselves that are effective enough.

I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick up my prescriptions. I made arrangements to have them put at the front cashier area so I could avoid going in. A mother with two small children passed me to enter the pharmacy. One of her kids asked, “don’t we have to put on a mask?” The mother answered, “no, not anymore.” No mandate = a disregard for continuing to protect themselves and those around them with the simple act of masking. 

I am soon to be 69; my partner is 69. We are not [yet] eligible for the spring booster; we both have had our third shots. We also fall into a very large category of vulnerable people because of heart disease and emphysema. We are not clearly immunocompromised, but still at risk for much more serious illness and long COVID. 

While I was grateful [for] Dr. Henry’s leadership on BC’s COVID response for a long time in the earlier days of this pandemic, I have been unhappy with her late recognition of the benefits of masking indoors, of her very slow and still quiet recognition of COVID being airborne, and her almost complete ignoring of the effects of long COVID on both individual lives and on the health care system. She keeps talking about “balance,” but I don’t see that happening; I don’t see citizens being given information [with] which to make decisions. I realize there is a serious lack of resources to test, but I think Dr. Henry is being too cavalier about where COVID is at, given the waning vaccine protection, the fact that COVID is now more transmissible, [and] that people like me find less choice than before in our activities.

Ellen Agger

Time for restrictions to lift

It is time - big time - to lift restrictions! Also, I think unvaccinated people should be able to travel if they take a PCR test and are negative. It is unbelievable what the government does when there are other measures to keep everyone safe!

Linda Bartholme

When it comes to government policy, squeaky wheel gets the oil

I feel lifting all health measures was premature and probably due [to] the squeaky wheel. I don’t like wearing a mask, but I do it for myself and others. How can this disease be with us one day and completely gone the next? Be real, that in fact is how it’s being treated!

I’m 72, still wear a mask, and notice many others doing the same. Look at what’s happening here and around the world; it is still coming back to bite us.

John Alberts

Let those who wish to wear masks continue

I'm 72 [and] in that higher-risk group. I think it's past time to get rid of passports and let those who are fearful or feel compromised wear masks and attend events as they feel comfortable. In such a highly vaccinated population, it's now clear that the passports have only caused a societal divide and not stopped the virus. To continue with them is merely punishment. 

I know so many people who have caught the latest variant and all have been vaccinated and many triple-vaccinated. Even a couple of very immunocompromised people I know only had cold-like symptoms that lasted 5 days at the most. With a virus that is this mild in most cases, it is no longer an emergency. We can only get back to normal by focusing on the vulnerable....as it's always been.....and for god's sake, fix our healthcare system that's been declining for years due to neoliberal agendas.

Doreen Webb

Restrictions a matter of perspective

I think it was about time they ended.  

Kids not wearing masks is a blessing; they need to be able to see their peers’ faces [and] expressions, [and] laugh and yell like kids do. They should be able to get together in gyms, recreation centres, concerts, theaters, etc... It is how they grow and find a sense of belonging.  I'm glad they'll be able to do that without having to show any documentation.

I believe restrictions have affected people too busy to fill out surveys or send feedback: small business owners.  So many of them went out of business, so many of them suffered from the stress of trying to keep the books somehow balanced. I have found that people that support restrictions continuing are mainly those whose income was not directly affected by them: government employees [and] retirees on a pension. I asked friends of mine who are teachers, when they didn't want classes to start, if they would feel the same way if their salaries depended on [it], and their position changed. It's all perspective.

Eiglys Trejo

Lifting mask mandate endangers lives

I’m very concerned that the already extremely-stressed health system will not be able to sustain the 6th wave and those that are sure to follow. 

While Dr. Henry may want to believe BC residents are adults and able to make positive decisions regarding masks, the past two weeks have shown that is a false assumption. The end of the mask mandate endangers the lives of our elders and immuno-compromised residents. The speed with which people discarded their masks was shocking. 

If we have legislation for wearing seat belts, why not mandates for masking while in the midst of a killer pandemic?

Denise Ashby

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