BC Ferries is making face masks mandatory for passengers

Jun 8 2020, 1:54 pm

A face mask or covering for the mouth and nose will be required for most passengers on BC Ferries, starting on Monday, June 15.

The ferry corporation announced today the new regulations for all passengers over the age of two on longer sailings of over 30 minutes, including passengers travelling in a vehicle.

Upon arrival at the terminal, passengers will be asked to confirm if they have a face mask or covering and are willing to wear it when necessary — when proper physical distancing of two metres cannot be maintained.

If the passenger answers “no” or fails to answer, they will be rejected from travelling.

All passengers are required to bring their own face masks or coverings. This will not be provided by BC Ferries.

The new regulations follow the latest guidance by Transport Canada on face masks or coverings for planes, trains, ships, and public transit. For ships, the federal regulations mandate face masks for passengers on sailings over 30 minutes in duration.

“As defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, a face covering should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops, be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen) and be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping,” reads a release.

This latest measure adds to BC Ferries’ continuing practice of screening all passengers for COVID-19 symptoms and rejecting anyone who does not meet the screening requirements.

The ferry corporation says all enhanced health safety measures will be maintained, including enhanced cleaning and screening of travellers, allowing passengers to remain in their vehicles in enclosed decks, and a 50% passenger capacity on each vessel to help support physical distancing.

Traffic volumes on BC Ferries are expected to increase over the coming weeks and months, as restrictions lift and more businesses, services, and attractions reopen under the provincial government’s plan to restart the economy.

BC Ferries says it is in the process of gradually increasing services in response to this demand change.

Under the federal regulations, railway operators such as TransLink are required to inform passengers to wear a face mask or covering when physical distancing cannot be maintained. The public transit authority is also in the process of developing TransLink-branded, non-medical face masks.

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