Frustrations mount after ferries fail to enforce mandatory mask policies
BC Ferries is under fire for allegedly failing to enforce their mandatory face mask policy, with multiple Canadians taking to social media to bring the issue to the company's attention.
As of June 15, BC Ferries requires all passengers and crew on board their ferries to wear a non-medical face covering if a physical distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained.
The only exceptions to the mandatory mask policy are children under the age of two, or those passengers travelling on ferry routes that are less than 30 minutes.
We're asking customers to be in possession of a face covering.— BC Ferries (@BCFerries) August 9, 2020
Staying in your vehicle?
👉 Face coverings not required to be worn
Leaving your vehicle/ walking on?
👉 Wear a face covering if you can't maintain 2m of #PhysicalDistance from others#ShareTheCoastSafely ^ta pic.twitter.com/2n6TsHLk1n
All of this sounds good in theory; unfortunately, however, it seems that the mask policy may not actually be stringently enforced.
In fact, some passengers estimate that only about 40 per cent of passengers on the ferries are actually wearing masks, according to a recent Reddit thread on the topic.
"Was on ferry yesterday for an essential trip and only about half the passengers were wearing masks," one person wrote. "How can this be enforced?"
"BC Ferries isn't enforcing anything," another person wrote on Reddit. "People aren't even respecting the closed tables in the cafeteria. They have big signs on them saying the table is closed, and people are sitting and eating at them anyways. Staff walk by all the time and never say anything."
BC ferries mask enforcement is as effective as porn websites asking if you're 18. @BCFerries— Reuben Krabbe (@ReubenKrabbe) August 10, 2020
Other passengers are taking issue with the fact that some staff members on the ferries are reportedly not donning a face covering, either.
One passenger reported that multiple workers approached their vehicle to ask them to move their car, coming within two meters of them without a face mask.
"Not impressed, let's follow the recommendations or rules please," the passenger wrote.
Hey @BCFerries! Your staff are coming in contact with thousands of people per day, and you are encouraging masks on board. So why are many (most?) of your staff not wearing masks? 🤔#COVID19 pic.twitter.com/ZnwOMUnxXs— Patrick WJ McClarty☘️🇨🇦 (@McClartyCPA) August 9, 2020
The issue may come down to a simple confusion over the wording of the policy, however.
Although BC Ferries does require passengers to carry face masks and don them if they come within 2 metres of other people (e.g. on crowded stairwells), passengers aren't actually required to wear them at all times.
"Customers travelling with BC Ferries must be in possession of a face covering and be willing to wear it if they are unable to physically distance from others on our terminals and on our vessels," Deborah Marshall, Executive Director of Public Affairs, told Freshdaily.
"If our staff notice a customer not wearing a face covering and not able to physically distance, our staff would politely ask them to wear their face covering."
She added that BC Ferries is not an enforcement agency, and is therefore unable to issue tickets to passengers that aren't complying with the rules.
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