'No mask, no ride': OC Transpo ramping up mask enforcement blitz starting Tuesday
OTTAWA -- Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says the crackdown on people who aren't wearing masks on public transit will become harsher as of Tuesday.
Starting Oct. 13, OC Transpo special constables will begin handing out tickets under the city's temporary mandatory mask bylaw to people who are refusing to wear masks without a valid exemption.
"No more warnings. As of Tuesday, no mask, no ride, and you will be issued a ticket," Watson said at a media availability on Friday.
OC Transpo began a two-week mask blitz on Friday, involving special constables checking for mask use at transit stations and on buses and the O-Train. When it was first announced, OC Transpo said anyone not wearing a mask without a valid exemption would be issued a written warning and given a disposable mask to wear.
Masks have been mandatory on OC Transpo since June 15, but this is the first time OC Transpo has been seriously responding to people who are not following the rules.
In a memo, Transportation Services General Manager John Manconi said, starting Tuesday, riders who flout the mask rule will be ticketed and denied service.
"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," Manconi said. "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."
Exemptions exist for young children and those who cannot wear masks because of a disability or another medical reason. Those customers will not be issued fines and will still be able to use the transit system.
The City has recently been ramping up its enforcement of the mandatory mask bylaw, handing out more fines to businesses and individuals who do not comply with the order.