Mask-less transit riders can now be fined $230

Nov 26 2020, 12:23 pm

After the provincial government recently introduced new enforcement measures around their mandatory mask policy, police are reminding people that the policy applies to transit users as well.

This week, BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced that anyone without a mask in an indoor public place, or who refuses to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer – including the direction to leave the space – or who responds with abusive or belligerent behaviour, may be subject to a $230 fine.

And according to Transit Police Sgt. Clint Hampton, this policy applies to the TransLink network as well.

It’s not the first time that transit officers have been able to issue fines, though. Hampton told Daily Hive that before the new rules, officers had been able to issue $150 fines to mask-less customers, as TransLink had made masks mandatory for customers back in August.

“Previous to the new Provincial Health Order, we were able to issue a $150 fine, under certain circumstances, for people not abiding by the mandatory face-covering policy on transit,” Hampton said.

Now, “Transit Police will enforce the Ministerial Order and can now issue fines of $230, subject to the exemptions set out in the provincial order,” he added.

Under the provincial order, face masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older, in a number of indoor public settings, including:

  • malls, shopping centres, coffee shops, and retail and grocery stores;
  • liquor and drug stores;
  • airports, city halls, libraries, community and recreation centres;
  • restaurants, pubs and bars;
  • places of public worship;
  • on public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • common areas of office buildings, courthouses, hospitals and hotels;
  • common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity;
  • common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations.

For people looking to report “non-emergency” contraventions of the mask order, Farnworth said they should contact their local bylaw office. Those unable to reach a local bylaw office can contact their local police department’s non-emergency line.

Police may also be called “if someone has become threatening or abusive in response to a request to put on a mask.”

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