BC Transit implements Mandatory Face Covering Policy
Thursday, August 6th Translink and BC transit announced that starting August 24th, 2020 face coverings will be mandatory on public transit.
The new policy will apply to anyone riding the bus, — but there will be some exemptions.
In a statement, TransLink said the move is "essential" to ensuring people feel confident riding transit as the province's economy reopens and more people resume commuting.
"It's imperative that our customers ... feel safe so that we can recover our ridership over time," TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond told reporters Thursday.
"We want to ensure that we continue to do our part to minimize any potential for community transmission on public transit."
"We recognize the advice from health professionals, including Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, has been to wear face coverings when physical distancing is not possible including on transit vehicles," the company said in a statement.
The new policy will be implemented "as an educational step" without enforcement and the company will work to ensure riders are aware of the requirement in the coming weeks, BC Transit said.
Small children, people with medical conditions exempt
Children under the age of five and anyone who can't wear a face mask or covering due to a medical condition will be exempt from the policy, both authorities said.
TransLink says employees working behind a physical barrier or in areas not accessible to the public will also be exempt, and so will police or first responders in the event of an emergency.
Metro Vancouver Transit Police will be able to enforce rules requiring face masks on transit, but the initial focus of the policy will be on awareness and education, TransLink said.
Desmond estimates roughly 40 percent of TransLink customers currently wear masks while riding public transit, which he said is not enough.
Although the transit authority says it is going to be focusing on education and awareness, transit police could eventually issue fines for non-compliance "if absolutely necessary," Desmond said.
"We're starting off with a light touch," he said.
"If at some point in time or if a field circumstance absolutely requires, the transit police would be empowered to issue a fine or ask a customer to leave the system."
Pacific Coast Health Services supports following all safety measures suggested by Island Health Authority, Dr. Bonnie & Provincial Health & Health Canada.
Social Distance 2 metres or 6 feet apart
Wear a mask when social distancing is not possible
Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more (frequently)
Stay home and call 811 if you are not feeling well.
Always follow advice from your healthcare team.
Provincial Support BC
Vancouver Island Health Authority
BC Transit Announcement
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