TransLink confirms mandatory mask policy will end starting on Thursday

Jun 29 2021, 11:17 pm

The mandatory mask policy on Metro Vancouver’s public transit system will be downgraded to only a recommendation, starting this Thursday, July 1, 2021.

TransLink confirmed the official change of policy this afternoon, aligning with the provincial government’s shift into Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, which removes the requirement for masks within indoor settings.

“Customers are encouraged to continue wearing masks on transit as a precautionary measure to protect themselves, fellow customers, and our employees,” reads a TransLink news release.

TransLink will continue to follow the guidance of experts and senior levels of government. We are working closely with our provincial health officials, Transport Canada, and WorkSafeBC to ensure we are meeting all safety and regulatory requirements.”

The policy change begins later this week, but the public transit authority has noted it could take weeks before all signage and decals plastered onto vehicles, stations, and facilities are removed and updated.

TransLink also states it will continue its safe operating guidelines such as increased cleaning, improved sanitization measures, and thorough ventilation of vehicles.

The mandatory mask policy onboard public transit has been in place since August 24, 2020. Prior to that date, masks were a recommendation.

Mask compliance increased from around 50% before the policy’s announcement to over 90% by early September, based on spot check. As of this past spring, mask compliance on bus and SeaBus services was as high as 98%.

Under the previous health order, Transit Police have been able to issue fines of $230 for mask non-compliance.

The public transit authority also distributed tens of thousands of free TransLink-branded masks to passengers to encourage use in late spring and early summer 2020.

Provincial health officials announced today that over 78% of adults in BC have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and over 30% of adults have received their second dose.

There were 29 new confirmed positive coronavirus tests over the last 24-hour period, continuing a downward trend from the highs earlier in 2021. The seven-day average case count is now 61, which is the lowest it has been since August 2020.

BC’s state of emergency for the pandemic, which began in March 2020, will also be coming to an end this Thursday.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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