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Coronavirus: Public calls for more enforcement for BC Transit’s mandatory mask policy

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Public calling for more enforcement for BC Transit’s mandatory mask policy' Coronavirus: Public calling for more enforcement for BC Transit’s mandatory mask policy
Coronavirus: Public calling for more enforcement for BC Transit’s mandatory mask policy – Nov 24, 2020

A 60-year-old Vernon, B.C., man, who lives with physical disabilities, said he is too afraid to ride the bus — a public service he depends on.

“It’s scary, it’s very concerning,” said Gary Armstrong.

“I went to get on the public bus yesterday and I looked up and noticed the bus driver had no mask on. Then, I looked to my left and the passengers also had no masks on.”

Gary Armstrong, who has a compromised immune system as well as a fused spine, didn’t feel safe getting on the bus due to passengers not following the province-wide mandatory mask policy.

Armstrong had to walk to the grocery store, something his doctor has advised him not to do.

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“I walked all the way there and all the way home, which took me three hours,” Armstrong told Global News on Tuesday.

“I’m not supposed to walk more than three blocks.”

Read more: Coronavirus: B.C. bus driver frustrated with lack of mask enforcement

He wants more enforcement of the mask policy — a request Global News also heard from a bus driver in Kelowna.

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“No one can do anything: the police can’t do anything, the bylaw can’t do anything, the workers compensation board can’t do anything, they have no recourse,” said Armstrong.

“They have nobody to enforce these rules.”

BC Transit provided a statement to address Armstrong’s concerns.

It said, “It is important to remember there are invisible reasons a person may not be able to wear a face covering, we will continue to assume people not wearing a face-covering meet our exception criteria.”

And that, “Under the order issued by Dr. Henry, our transit supervisors and managers will now have authority to enforce compliance with the assistance of local authorities.”

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Read more: Kelowna, B.C., business owner berated by anti-maskers while holding baby

Another Vernon transit rider echoed concerns about passengers not covering up and the lack of enforcement.

“I’ve noticed a lot of people not wearing them. I have health issues myself and it’s not right,” said Chelsea Cochrane.

“People are just not listening, I would like to see a lot (more) of enforcement being done.”

Armstrong also thinks bus drivers should be wearing masks.

He says the glass barriers in buses are too small and do not protect against airborne particles.

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B.C. records 941 new cases of COVID-19, 10 additional deaths – Nov 24, 2020