The B.C. government has reintroduced a province-wide mask mandate for all residents aged 12 and older in public indoor spaces.

Health officer Dr.Bonnie Henry made the announcement Tuesday while speaking about the province’s back-to-school plan. She says the return to mask use is due to the province’s rise in COVID-19 cases, specifically the Delta variant.

Henry says the temporary mandate will take effect Wednesday, regardless of vaccination status. Masks may only be required for a couple of weeks as the health order will be reassessed once the B.C. vaccine card is fully implemented.

“This measure is needed to ensure that these indoor settings are as safe as they can be for all of us as we head into the fall,” said Henry.

“This is to address those situations where we are in indoor settings with people who may not yet have been vaccinated.”

Health officials reintroduced the mandate for the Interior health region last week due to the rise in cases and hospitalizations. The climb was mainly among unvaccinated residents, according to the Province.

The Province says people who cannot wear a mask or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others are exempt.

“A person may not be able to wear a mask for a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or due to a physical, cognitive or mental impairment,” said a provincial release Tuesday.

Masks will be required at the following settings, according to the Province:

Health officials reintroduced the mandate for the Interior health region last week due to the rise in cases and hospitalizations. The climb was mainly among unvaccinated residents, according to the Province.