The provincial health officer has made a recommendation that public transit authorities in BC should implement a mandatory mask policy.
During today’s COVID-19 update press conference, when asked whether a mandatory mask policy could be made to increase compliance but without enforcement, Dr. Bonnie Henry said such a policy would be a “good option,” noting that similar policies have been made by some businesses.
- See also:
“That’s an option that transit can do, and I think that’s a particularly good option,” said Henry.
“We’ve noticed that retailers and stores have put that policy in place to protect their employees, particularly if these are spaces when you can’t maintain that distance.”
Several weeks ago, Henry also said “everybody on transit should be wearing a mask,” unless there is a valid reason they cannot.
Earlier today during the Mayors’ Council meeting, TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said approximately 40% of passengers are wearing a mask or face covering.
The public transit authority launched a new health safety campaign about two months ago, including a separate campaign specifically to encourage passengers to wear a mask. It has implemented signage, distributed 25,000 free TransLink branded masks to passengers at key stations, and made masks available for purchase online.
No. Making recommendations constantly to wear a mask is not good enough anymore. It has to be made mandatory. Please lead by example and start requiring your employees to start wearing them.
You can do better. #WearADamnMask
— Mikaufoxy 🐶💣🌻 #BlackLivesMatter #ACAB (@Mikaufoxy) July 26, 2020
What the hell @TransLink ? I just took this on the Seabus and out of 60 people only roughly 27 of us were wearing masks.
Masks should be MANDATORY, not a “friendly suggestion”. All your services should be: no mask, no service. Start protecting your riders, please. pic.twitter.com/cJ4lE9TloM
— ཞ (@roxxm_) July 26, 2020
However, with ridership on the rise, there are growing calls for TransLink to be stricter with its health and safety measures. An online petition, specifically on the matter of masks and physical distancing, launched two weeks ago has amassed nearly 12,000 signatures at the time of writing.
BC Transit has adopted a similar strategy with masks on its services, but BC Ferries, following Transport Canada’s regulations for marine vessels, has mandated all passengers bring a mask or covering onboard in order to be able to board.
MAKE. IT. MANDATORY !
I was on a morning 25 UBC, where the ( probably ) Trumpie driver just shoved more of us in. At least 20 in the aisles, and most without masks.
I was literally scared for my life.
“IF YOU ARE ABLE”?
Wear a mask, or you don’t get to ride transit.
— @vancitydan 🌏✌️ (@vancitydan) July 25, 2020
— junjunvan (@junjunvan) July 25, 2020
For the first time since going back to work i saw my FIRST translink employee wearing a mask
— kelsey rae (@OhNoKelsey) July 25, 2020
MAKE 👏 MASK-👏WEARING👏MANDATORY👏👏👏
— Raimskie (@Raimskie) July 26, 2020
This is a great opportunity to eliminate all of the unsafe behaviours on transit, like talking out loud on a cell phone without a mask and like eating your lunch.#WearADamnMask
— Andrew Langdon 😷 (@Surfcrest) July 26, 2020
I keep getting folks without masks thinking it’s OK to sit beside me. It’s not. I’m wearing a mask to keep them safe, if they’re not going to extend the same courtesy to me they can wait for the next bus.
— Scott Baxter (@LeftCoastScott) July 26, 2020
— Vitalii Vovk (@v_volf) July 26, 2020
Thank you for your message. But I ask for more please. Transit is an essential service yet I do not feel safe when I am using Skytrain. Mask use is poor. I am now adding to my carbon footprint and costs to safety get to work. Please make masks mandatory. #translink #safety
— Greg Wyman Marin (@themarinator) July 26, 2020
No more seating restrictions on @TransLink and only me wearing a mask on the bus.. Covid19 still alive and killing people in the world.. sigh
— Mell K (@mellk_0120) July 26, 2020
@TransLink all the passengers on the bus 🚎 #9 broadway and oak 7:15 are wearing mask 😷👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
— Alex Montaño (@ChaparroAlex) July 27, 2020
You guys need to mandate this, or at the very least create safe-to-use free mask dispensers at your stations.
— Matt K Ward (@mattkward) July 27, 2020
Seconded. I was on public transit for the first time in months this past Saturday and we mask-wearers were significantly outnumbered. Ridiculous…I won’t be doing that again for a while. If we can’t be adults about this, Translink / government should mandate them.
— Jared (@microserf70) July 27, 2020
Appreciate the extra cleaning and staff everywhere but I’m wondering if you’ll reconsider the mask thing again. It’s just getting nearly impossible to socially distance on SkyTrain. There are few medical reasons for no mask in an adult. Pls reconsider this before September.
— Michelle Auger (@MichelleAuger) July 28, 2020
@TransLink how are we gonna be safe in transit if not everyone is wearing mask. there people talking with one another without the mask or they are talking over the phone without a mask. there is a risk of getting the virus while they are talking. right?
— taz (@taz_lois) July 30, 2020
Public transit authority in Prague made mask mandatory. Maybe learn some experience from them to see how they overcame these challenges?
— DYN (@dong_yinan) July 30, 2020