British Columbia

Passengers on BC Ferries must travel with a face mask starting June 15

BC Ferries says passengers will be required to travel with a face mask on most routes starting June 15 and must wear the mask while on board if a physical distance of two metres cannot be maintained.

BC Ferries will not supply masks and passengers are expected to bring their own

Passengers drive onto a BC Ferries vessel from Tsawwassen to the Southern Gulf Islands in April. BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said ferry traffic remains substantially below normal levels. (Chris Corday/CBC)

BC Ferries said passengers will be required to travel with a face mask on most routes starting June 15.

In a statement, BC Ferries said passengers must wear the face mask while on board if a physical distance of two metres between passengers cannot be maintained.

Deborah Marshall, a spokesperson for BC Ferries, said the policy is the result of new guidance from Transport Canada.

The mask does not need to be an N95-type: fabric masks, disposable masks, or even a scarf would be acceptable, provided it consisted of two layers of fabric and can be tied securely around the nose and mouth.

The new directive applies to passengers over the age of two, including those travelling in a vehicle. It is being implemented on all ferry routes longer than 30 minutes.

Ferries staff will confirm that passengers boarding a boat have a face mask that they are willing to wear if necessary. If a passenger answers "no," they will be denied boarding.

Marshall said if a person has a condition that precludes them from wearing a mask, staff will speak to them and address their needs on a case-by-case basis.

BC Ferries will not supply masks to passengers. They are expected to bring their own. 

"We transport about 22 million customers a year," Marshall said. "We just don't have the supply."