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Coronavirus: BC Ferries passengers must now have face coverings when on board

All BC Ferries travellers must now have a face covering with them on board.
All BC Ferries travellers must now have a face covering with them on board. Global News

Starting Monday, all BC Ferries passengers must have a face covering with them when on board as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, though they are not required to wear one at all times.

The face coverings, which can include masks and scarves, are to be worn only when physical separation of two metres cannot be maintained. Travellers are still allowed to remain in their vehicles, even on enclosed decks, during sailings.

“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,” a press release from BC Ferries reads.

“If a passenger answers ‘no’, or fails to answer, they will be unable to travel.”

B.C. ferry workers’ union concerned about new mask rules
B.C. ferry workers’ union concerned about new mask rules

The union representing BC Ferries’ workers fears its members may face more abuse from the public over the company’s new requirement for passengers to bring a face covering.

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BC Ferries will not be providing customers with non-medical masks if they don’t have one.

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“The current health emergency is putting customers on edge like we have never seen before,” BC Ferry & Marine Workers Union president Graeme Johnston said.

“If a customer answers no, our ticket agents are supposed to tell them they are not allowed to travel. Our members have seen really significant cases of verbal abuse.”

READ MORE: BC Ferries to require passengers to have face masks on longer sailings

The change in policy is a directive of Transport Canada and applies to all passengers over the age of two.

On all routes, BC Ferries requests customers remain in their vehicle for the entire sailing if possible. 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).

BC Ferries is still advising travellers only board for essential travel and will be asking all passengers if they are feeling well before boarding.

If a traveller displays symptoms associated with COVID-19 they will be refused entry.

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