Unmasked passengers cause 50-minute delay on BC Ferries sailing

A recent ferry sailing on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast was delayed by nearly an hour because of two “belligerent” passengers who refused to wear masks, according to BC Ferries.

Company spokesperson Deborah Marshall told CTV News the passengers’ behaviour forced the Queen of Surrey to remain docked at the Langdale terminal for 50 minutes on Sunday afternoon.

The unmasked passengers told staff they were “exempt from our mandatory mask policy and refused to show proof when asked, stating that they did not have to,” Marshall said in an email.

“They became argumentative and the vessel called the police to attend,” she added.

Officers spoke with the passengers, who agreed to stay in their vehicle for the entirety of the sailing, allowing the Queen of Surrey to finally depart at around 5:10 p.m.

BC Ferries brought back its mask mandate in August, as the province was grappling with the Delta COVID-19 variant, for the protection of passengers and staff.

There are exemptions for people with a medical condition or disability that inhibits their ability to wear a mask or put one on without assistance, though BC Ferries said it may require those passengers to present documentation from a health-care provider.

Children under the age of five are not required to wear a face-covering.

Marshall said the company will not tolerate “any abuse, including verbal abuse,” towards employees who are enforcing its rules.

“We ask customers to continue to heed Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to be kind, be calm, and be safe,” she said.  

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