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Mounties patrolling some ferries to enforce COVID-19 safety rules

Last Updated Nov 6, 2020 at 3:46 pm PST

FILE (Courtesy Twitter.BC Ferries)
Summary

Starting this weekend, Mounties will be patrolling some ferries to enforce COVID-19 safety rules

Earlier this year, BC Ferries allowed people to stay in their cars because of the pandemic, but the rule was reversed

Police will mainly be there just to educate people, but can hand out fines if people don't listen

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — RCMP officers will be onboard some BC Ferries starting Friday ad through the weekend to make sure everyone is complying with COVID-19 safety regulations.

This comes after a group of anti-mask protesters harassed other passengers on a trip to Horseshoe Bay a few weeks ago.

A Delta woman also caused a scene when she adamantly refused to wear a mask at the Tsawassen terminal earlier this week.

RCMP officers will be patrolling some vessels and fine people caught breaking the rules, if necessary. The focus will be on educating passengers on safety rules and enforcing the Canada Shipping Act.

“We are committed to public safety and security and want to support the provincial and federal governments’ response to the pandemic in every capacity. Enforcement and education will be conducted in partnership with BC Ferries, to ensure that Transport Canada’s protocols around COVID-19, ” RCMP Chief Supt. Dave Attfield says in a release.

“We are confident that education and awareness will help boost compliance rates on BC Ferries around marine safety measures.”

BC Ferries and Transport Canada requested support from RCMP to enforce the regulation that requires ferry passengers to exit their vehicles on enclosed vehicle decks and stay in designated passenger areas while the ferry is operating.

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The rule does not apply to open — including partially enclosed — vehicle decks, where passengers can remain in their vehicles on ferries.

“The RCMP will assist BC Ferries from an educational and support capacity doing checks of the vehicle decks to ensure that passengers are following the regulations.”

In March, passengers were allowed to remain in their vehicles on enclosed vehicle decks as the health risks associated to COVID-19 were unknown.

“Since then, we have learned more on how to protect ourselves and travel safely,” Attfield says. “However, remaining in a vehicle on an enclosed vehicle deck while a ferry is operating is not safe for passengers and has been banned internationally.”