BC Ferries to require passengers to have face masks on longer sailings

The B.C. ferry Queen of Coquitlam leaves Horseshoe Bay on the 10:30 a.m. sailing to Nanaimo Monday Dec. 8, 2003. Chuck Stoody/The Canadian Press

BC Ferries will require all passengers to bring a face covering on sailings that are 30 minutes or longer and wear it when physical distancing protocols cannot be met.

The policy shift comes from new guidance provided by Transport Canada. The face covering, which can be a mask, scarf or another piece of material, must cover a traveller’s mouth and nose.

The change goes into effect on June 15 and applies to all passengers over the age of two, including those passengers travelling in a vehicle.

READ MORE: BC Ferries to boost service levels as B.C. reopens from COVID-19

“Passengers will be asked to confirm they have a face covering and are willing to wear it when necessary,” a release from BC Ferries reads.

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“If a passenger answers ‘no’, or fails to answer, they will be unable to travel. Customers must bring their own face coverings as BC Ferries will not be supplying them to travellers.”

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As defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, a face covering should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops, be made of at least two layers of tightly-woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen) and be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping.

Click to play video: 'A reminder from BC Ferries to avoid all non-essential travel' A reminder from BC Ferries to avoid all non-essential travel
A reminder from BC Ferries to avoid all non-essential travel – May 12, 2020

BC Ferries has recently increased the number of sailings on certain routes but continues to have restrictions in place, including capacity cannot exceed 50 per cent of pre-COVID pandemic levels.

The federal government has amended its policy and is currently allowing passengers to stay in their vehicle even on enclosed decks.

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BC Ferries continues to advise passengers against non-essential travel. It will also continue screening all customers for COVID-19 symptoms and restrict travel to any customer who does not meet screening requirements.


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