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Mandatory means mandatory

Mandatory means mandatory

As of Aug. 24, masks were made mandatory on public transit. This is a most excellent plan, as it is impossible to socially distance yourself properly on a bus. There is no better place to pass on a virus than on public transit.
Last week, I witnessed a disgraceful incident on my bus ride to Sechelt, which I have to do three days a week for work. The very sweet and new young bus driver asked a young man politely – twice – if he had a mask. Not only did he not reply, he completely ignored her with his earbuds in and stared down at his phone. She asked again. This young man pretended he could not hear or see the driver, even when she got out of her seat, stood directly in front of him and politely asked him to wear the mask she was providing for him.
The incident was completely awkward for the rest of us on the bus – all wearing the required face covering (although that was the first time I had ever seen almost every rider wearing a mask, but at least it’s improving). We all waited while this disrespectful young man sat slumped, performing his “act of defiance” by essentially being rude. At the very least, he could have acknowledged the driver if he was going to continue his personal protest. In fact, it was hardly defiant when he couldn’t even use his voice to defend what he apparently felt so strongly about.
But here’s the other part of the equation – bus drivers should not be made to police this. It is very unfair to ask the drivers to monitor their community for something mandatory. Drivers already have a job – to drive the bus and get all the riders safely to their destination! That is the job.
I work with seniors – some of them in their 90s, just out of hospital and extremely vulnerable. Every time someone isn’t wearing a mask on the bus, I have to wonder when I greet my clients if I might be putting them at risk due to someone not wearing a mask.
You don’t want to wear a mask – that’s your prerogative – then ride your bike or walk to Sechelt.
And to the good leaders of our community and the transit supervisors – do not make this the driver’s job. Please put some form of support in place for them and those complying with the intelligent requirement that has been put in place for everyone’s well being.
Wanda Nowicki,

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