BC Ferries has announced a slight change to its face mask policy is coming in the near future.
Starting on Aug. 24, face coverings will be mandatory for customers at all times while at ferry terminals and onboard vessels.
The announcement of the policy change came on Thursday morning, updating a directive from Transport Canada that came into effect back on June 15.
BC Ferries already has been requiring passengers travelling on their vessels to be in possession of a face covering that covers their mouth and nose. The company was asking customers to wear face coverings when physical separation of two metres could not be maintained.
Starting Monday, it will be mandatory for riders to wear masks at all times.
The new mask mandate aligns with other provincial travel, including BC Transit and TransLink, that will be making masks mandatory for all riders beginning on August 24 as well.
Along with the updated mask policy announced on Thursday, BC Ferries reported a first-quarter net loss of $62 million as the organization deals with significant impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In comparison, the company reported net earnings of $12.2 million over the same period in 2019. The first quarter spanned over three months and ended on June 30, marking a period of time where businesses were shut down and travel was restricted across British Columbia.
“While COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on our business, I want to express my deep appreciation to our frontline staff who came to work every day in the depths of the pandemic to provide lifeline service to coastal communities,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “I also want to thank our customers for their patience as we all work towards a new normal.”
With COVID-19 case numbers continuing to rise in British Columbia, the message from BC Ferries is that they will keep following directives and guidance provided by the Province and Transport Canada. BC Ferries suggests that any new measures and policy changes, including limiting passenger capacity and allowing customers to remain in their vehicles on all decks, are in an effort to keep customers safe.