(OC Transpo is running their Operation Mask Up campaign from October 9-23, 2020. Photo: OC Transpo)
OC Transpo’s “Operation Mask Up” from October 9 to 23 wants to change the behavior of the small number of customers failing to comply with OC Transpo’s mandatory mask policy.
Since June 15 wearing a mask has been mandatory on buses, the O-Train and in transit stations, with some exceptions. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, at a media event on Friday, strongly emphasized, “No more warnings. As of Tuesday, no mask, no ride, and you will be issued a ticket.”
Initially, during Operation Mask Up, OC Transpo Special Constables were travelling across the transit system and talking to those customers not wearing a mask, without a valid exemption, to remind them of the requirement and handing out disposable masks. But the situation has changed since October 9th.
Starting Tuesday, October 13, John Manconi, Manager of Transportation Services, stated in a memo that those not adhering to the mask bylaw will be ticketed and denied service. He wrote, “OC Transpo Special Constables will now issue a fine of $260 to those customers not wearing a mask under the City’s mandatory mask policy and the Transit By-Law”. “Customers who do not wear a mask and do not have any medical or other restrictions will be advised that they are not able to enter the system,” he added.
Those unable to wear a mask due to health conditions and young children will not be ticketed and will be allowed to ride the transit system.
The City is taking a harsher approach at issuing tickets for not wearing masks to OC Transpo riders, businesses and individuals. Businesses and property owners face a $490 fine for not following the temporary mask bylaw.