Masks on BC Ferries not actually mandatory to wear

Masks on BC Ferries not actually mandatory to wear
WatchMasks are now required for everyone hopping onboard BC Ferries. But there's a caveat: you don't actually have to wear them.

Masks are now mandatory to have on BC Ferries, but not everyone is putting them on.

“It’s interesting on the ferry not a lot of people are wearing them,” said Dianne Ledingham, while waiting to board a ferry at Swartz Bay.

The language is of the rule means that passengers don’t have to wear one, they just have to confirm they have a mask with them.

“It would be a conversation that the ticket agent would have with the customers going through the tollbooth areas,” said Deborah Marshall, executive director of communications with BC Ferries on June 8 to CHEK News.

That is if the attendants ask.

“On sailings longer than 30 minutes, passengers will be asked to confirm they have a face covering and are willing to wear it when necessary. If a passenger answers ‘no’, or fails to answer, they will be unable to travel,” BC Ferries said in a news release June 15 when the new travel rules went into place.

But at Swartz Bay terminal on Friday, no one CHEK News spoke with was, was asked if they or their passengers had a mask.

The only reminder that you must have a mask was on an overhead sign for those driving on.

The mandatory mask requirement is a Transport Canada directive, intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. Passengers are required to put them on when physical distancing can’t be maintained.

“Our staff could politely advise speak with the customer and advise them that they should be putting on their face covering if they are in a situation where they’re not able to physically distance from somebody else,” said Marshall.

Similar rules are in place in airports across Canada. There’s a difference though. When flying, airlines are requiring proof of a mask when boarding.

So far, BC Ferries says no one has been turned away for not having a mask. A track record that’s likely to continue, if no one’s asking.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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