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Over one million masks to be distributed across B.C. in new initiative

Masks free for those who must travel and have no access to clean ones
Photo: Face masks / Getty Images

Organizations in Richmond and across B.C. are distributing masks to residents having trouble accessing masks for essential travels.

The One Million Masks Initiative, led by United Way, is distributing one million surgical masks across the province to people who need to travel to access essential public services during COVID-19.

Despite the majority of British Columbians adhering to B.C.’s mandatory face-covering rules, there is still a concern that not everyone who travels for essential reasons has access to clean face masks, according to a Deloitte Canada media release.

The initiative is aimed at kids, youth, families, seniors, unsheltered homeless populations, new immigrant groups and anyone faced with limitations due to a difficulty obtaining a clean mask.

While Deloitte Canada and Richmond-based OEC Group sourced one million masks for the initiative, several other organizations including the Vancouver Airport Authority (VAA) is collaborating in the program as well.

Richard Beed, vice president, people and brand at YVR, said the safety of people is their focus.

“We are committed to giving back to our community and providing an essential service, ensuring that those who need to travel are able to do so safely,” said Beed.

“That is why we are proud to be supporting this important initiative alongside Deloitte and leading B.C. organizations to help get masks to deserving British Columbians.”

Masks will be distributed in Richmond at the following locations:

Other organizations collaborating in the initiative include TransLink, BC Ferries, BCAA, BC Transit and the SCI Group.

“Everyone is doing their part to flatten the COVID-19 curve and we know that masks do make a different,” said Michael McKnight, president of United Way Lower Mainland.

“We are incredibly gratified to see this kind of collaboration with organizations coming together for their communities to make for a safer, stronger B.C. now and into the future.”

Masks will be distributed locally until March 5.