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TransLink ending mask mandate for most services, following B.C. update

Massive changes coming to COVID-19 restrictions in B.C. — mandatory masking and vaccinations passes will be gone by next month. Liza Yuzda with the details as B.C.'s top doctor says we are in a good place but not out of the woods entirely.

Starting Friday, most TransLink riders will no longer need to mask up on their commute.

TransLink tells CityNews it will align its mandate with B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who announced Thursday the province will lift its mask mandate on March 11.

The only service that will still require masks is HandyDART.

“The Provincial Health Officer still requires masks in medical settings and many customers using this service are travelling to and from medical appointments,” the transit authority said in a statement. “We will consult with HandyDART customers and stakeholders, and work with the Provincial Health Office to identify when the appropriate time would be to lift this requirement.”

Related: B.C. mask mandate lifts Friday, vaccine passport ends April 8

All other passengers and workers won’t be required to wear masks, though TransLink says they are welcome to do so, depending on their personal level of comfort.

TransLink adds it may take awhile for crews to take down signs related to the expiring mask mandate, and passengers may continue to see them posted for awhile.

COVID rule changes March 11

(CityNews)

Dr. Henry said cases of COVID-19 have come down dramatically in the last few weeks and as transmission goes down, so do the risks.

“Masks continue to be encouraged in some of those settings where we have to get close to other people and we can’t necessarily avoid it — things like public transit and on BC Ferries — but (as of Friday) they’re no longer mandated under an order,” she said.

On Monday, a Metro Vancouver man petitioned to keep the mask mandate on public transit in fear of allergy season and that people are still at risk and public transit has a high transmission rate. The petition had collected over a thousand signatures by Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday Daryl Dela Cruz, who started the petition, called Henry’s update an “insult.”

“I have nothing to say except that this is an insult to all of us who have been placing ourselves in a higher-risk, higher-transmission setting on a regular basis—especially to those of us who are clinically extremely vulnerable, under 0-5 who are still ineligible for a vaccine, or otherwise continuously at risk,” he said.

Dela Cruz admitted his effort was unsuccessful but added he will be keeping the petition open “as a continuous call for a reinstatement of masking requirements on public transit.”

Related article: Metro Vancouver man petitions to keep masks on while taking public transit


Provinces like Ontario, Alberta and some of West Coast states are still requiring masks on transit. In those jurisdictions, face coverings are also required in health-care settings, and care homes even when the mandate is lifted.

On Thursday, B.C. also announced it will end its vaccine passport program on April 8, again following in the same steps several other Canadian provinces have already taken.

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