Queen of Cowichan. Supplied by BC Ferries.
Refuse to wear a mask on a BC Ferries vessel?
It’s going to cost you.
That’s a $900-dollar lesson BC Ferries and police hope will sink in for two passengers who caused a major disturbance over the weekend.
Just after midnight on Sunday, Nanaimo RCMP was called to the Departure Bay ferry terminal to meet the Queen of Cowichan, that was arriving from Horseshoe Bay.
The attending officers were told that two walk-on passengers were being escorted off the ferry after refusing to follow COVID protocols while onboard.
BC ferries staff informed the officers that the two women, ages 19 and 43, immediately upon boarding the ferry were advised that all passengers were required to wear masks.
They ignored the warning and walked past the BC Ferries employee, and on to the ferry.
According to the Nanaimo RCMP, they continued to ignore other employees’ demands to wear masks, and throughout the sailing were heard yelling, screaming, and generally being abusive to staff.
When the ferry docked in Nanaimo, officers promptly arrested them for Mischief and Cause Disturbance.
The officers noted that the two women showed signs of alcohol impairment and were quite confrontational with the officers.
“In fact, one of them screamed at an officer that she was going to kill him,” the Nanaimo RCMP said in a release.
“The other said that she would sue both officers for false arrest and ensure they lost their pensions. The officers did not respond to these threats but did arrest them for being intoxicated in a public place. The two women were escorted to the Nanaimo detachment and lodged in cells for the remainder of the evening.”
Several hours later and, police say, “when sober,” the women were given violation tickets under the Emergency Program Act (COVID-19) Face Coverings Order for Failure to Wear Face covering ($230), and Abusive or Belligerent behaviour ($230).
“It should be noted that the two had reusable non-medical masks in their possession at all times but simply chose not to wear them. Additionally, the arresting officers elected not to pursue the criminal charges.” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.