VICTORIA, B.C. – The Emergency Program Act’s order on masks has been updated, making masks required at fitness facilities, even during workouts.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced the change to the EPA order on Tuesday. The order clarifies that face shields are not a substitute for masks since there is an opening below the mouth.

The order applies to fitness centres, gyms, and dance studios.

According to a study on exercise and mask use from November 2020, social exercisers should limit themselves to low or moderate-intensity activity to avoid the negative effects.

The Mayo Clinic suggests cloth masks made of moisture-wicking material work better than surgical masks, which can break down as they become wet from sweat and increased moisture from breathing during exercise.

Masks are not recommended for children under two years old, while children over the age of two are required to.

The same exemptions apply for people who cannot don or doff their own mask, have a psychological, behavioural, or health condition, or physical, cognitive, or mental impairment.

Anyone not wearing a mask in an indoor public space, refusing to comply, or responding with abusive behaviour could be issued a $230 fine.

For those not responding to violation tickets, police can recommend charges in relation to the offense.

Local bylaw officers can respond to reports of non-compliance and notify police or WorkSafeBC.

More information about the updated provincial health orders can be found on the B.C. government website.