City transit riders will need to wear masks

Effective Oct. 1, all people using the Yorkton Transit system, including Yorkton Transit and Access Transitwill be required to wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

The decision was taken by Yorkton Council at its regular meeting Monday.

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The decision was requested by City Administration after the Transit Advisory Committee met and the mandatory use of nonmedical face masks or face coverings was discussed, explained Darcy McLeod, Director of Community Development, Parks and Recreationwith the City.

McLeod explained that, “the Saskatchewan Re-open Plan states that “Health officials have agreed that wearing a non-medical mask (e.g. cloth or other materials) – even if you have no symptoms – is an additional measure you may take to protect others around you, particularly in situations where the recommended physical distancing cannot be maintained, such as public transit.”

Further, “Page 26 of the Saskatchewan Reopen Plan speaks to public transportation. Point #1 indicates that “Public Transportation, including paratransit, should ... Encourage members of the public to practice two-metre separation,” he said.

In addition, “Public Health Agency of Canada indicates that “Wearing a homemade non-medical mask/facial covering in the community is recommended for periods of time when it is not possible to consistently maintain a 2-metre physical distance from others, particularly in crowded public settings,” said McLeod.

With the guidelines outlined McLeod noted, “As we re-open services to the public, it is not possible to social distance at the recommended six feet apart on our transit units. Therefore, the Transit Advisory Committee is recommending that all people in a Yorkton Transit vehicle be required to wear a non-medical face mask or face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Passengers would be required to wear a non-medical face mask or covering that meets the recommended standards of the Public Health Agency of Canada, which would be securely fastened (ties, elastics, ear loops, etc.) and are hands-free. Exemptions will be in place for children under five years of age, persons with medical conditions, or those who cannot place or remove masks without assistance.”

As a result a non-medical face mask or covering would be mandatory on both Yorkton Transit and Access Transit systems. Drivers would be supplied with non-medical masks however riders would be required to provide their own.

“These recommendations are in line with those recently adopted by other Transit authorities in the province, and is consistent with the Transport Canada and Health Canada guidelines for public transportation,” said McLeod.

“Mandatory mask or face covering use would also create awareness of the steps residents can take to remain healthy as our community continues to reopen.”

Council did direct Administration to have some masks on-hand for passengers wanting to use a bus that did not have a mask with them.

Implementation Guidelines:

* Passengers must supply their own mask or face covering and be wearing them prior to boarding the bus/van.

* If a passenger is not wearing a mask of face covering, they will be denied boarding. The following passengers will be exempt from wearing a non-medical mask or face covering. a. Anyone with an underlying medical condition or disability which inhibits the ability to wear a mask or face covering, which shall be provided in writing, by a medical practitioner. b. Children under five years of age.

* It will be the driver’s responsibility to enforce the mask or face covering requirement.

* If a passenger removes their mask or face covering during a trip, they will dropped off at their stop and told that if it happens again they will be banned from accessing transit for two weeks before being allowed to access the service again.

* Drivers will be required to wear a non-medical mask for the duration of their entire shift.

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