Masks now MANDATORY on BC transit: Will even stricter COVID-19 measures be coming?

British Columbia has been slapped hard with COVID-19 restrictions in the past few days. From $2,000 fines for things like not having sanitizer while hosting a gathering, to mandatory masks when travelling via transit or by ferry.

The question is, are Canadians happily complying to these restrictions? 

On Monday I took part in a monumental moment in history: taking a BC Ferry ride from Victoria to Tsawwassen while masked without a choice... yay me!

As of this past Monday, August 24, everyone riding a B.C. bus, ferry, SkyTrain, or West Coast Express train has to mask up. In a Global News report it appears that TransLink’s spokesperson, Ben Murphy, saw fit to practice his rhyming skills while stating that in regards to riding with them “it’s no longer an ask — you must wear a mask.” 

Now, TransLink.ca does say there are a few exemptions to the mandate which include: people with certain medical/physical disabilities, employees who are working behind a barrier of some sort, police and children under five (click on “are there any exemptions” to read for yourself).

On the two hour ferry ride I travelled on, there are signs in the stairwells that discourage people from leaving their vehicles with the exception of using the bathroom due to COVID-19.

Yet, those who don’t want to be stuck in their vehicle, can still take a breather... without a mask on in at least one upper portion of the ferry.

The cafeteria is still pumping out the orders and one can sit down, eat, drink, and be merry without a mask on, providing that they stay within the bright red lines that section off various sections of each table set.

So how did the first day of B.C.’s new mandatory mask TransLink and ferry go?

While I presume most complied, according to Facebook posts, at least one small group of protesters from a group called “Hugs Over Masks” set out to defend their belief that one should be able to choose to mask up or not.

One of the protesters, “Marcella Desjarlais” described the ride as “a great time,” adding that, “people were very receptive! And even the SkyTrain security were respectful of them.”

As for the Ferry ride I took, I chatted with a couple of people who rode the ferry when I did, watch and see what they had to say.