Masks will be mandatory on trains, buses in Metro Vancouver

VANCOUVER—Almost everyone boarding a bus, train or Seabus in Metro Vancouver will soon have to wear a mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19.

TransLink has announced that starting Aug. 24 customers will be required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings while on board its vehicles.

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond says physical distancing isn’t always possible on transit, especially as more riders return to the system.

Exceptions to the mandatory policy include those with medical conditions, people unable to remove a mask without help, children under five and police, employees or first responders in an emergency.

Desmond says customer confidence is key to rebuilding ridership during the pandemic and this step is important to bring riders back.

Those exempt from using a face covering can request a TransLink card confirming their status.

Officials say mask wearing is a key way to slow the spread of the coronavirus, while contact tracing is also an important measure in the effort to limit transmission.

The Vancouver and Fraser health authorities have both issued notices warning of possible exposures.

Vancouver Coastal Health says in a notice Thursday that a person who visited Lions Bay Beach park north of Vancouver tested positive for COVID-19.

Anyone who visited the beach on July 26, 27, 29, 30, or 31 should self-monitor for symptoms but the health authority says the risk of exposure was low.

Fraser Health also warned of a public exposure at the Hookah Lounge on King George Boulevard in Surrey.

Potential exposure was over two early mornings, between midnight and 5 a.m. on Aug. 1 and 2, it says in a statement.

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