Posting Date: July 8, 2020
Removal Date: November 30, 2020
The Region of Waterloo recently amended the Code of Use By-law (13-050) which now requires all riders to a wear face covering which covers the nose, mouth and chin while riding Grand River Transit vehicles (buses, trains, BusPLUS, MobilityPLUS buses, and Kiwanis Transit). The By-law also requires customers to wear a face covering when they are within bus shelters and on platforms of transit stations. The by-law change is effective Monday July 13, 2020.
As ridership continues to grow, it will become increasingly more difficult to maintain physical distance. Masks, or face coverings are an additional tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, because wearing a mask can help contain the wearer’s own droplets.
What is a face covering?
A face covering can be any of the following:
- Mask (disposable or washable)
- Any other clothing that covers the mouth, nose and chin
- Customers are required to wear a face covering when entering MobilityPLUS, Conventional, BusPLUS, Kiwanis Transit and Light Rail vehicles.
- Customers are also required to wear a face covering when in an enclosed shelter or building area or on platforms of a transit station. (e.g. Fairway Station, Ainslie Station, Cambridge Center Station and Customer Service Centres)
- Customers are not required to wear a face covering when standing at a bus stop that is not at a transit station
Exceptions for Customers
The By-law exempts the following customers from the requirement to wear a face covering:
- persons under the age of five years
- persons that have a medical condition or disability that prevents the wearing of a face covering or would inhibit the person’s ability to breathe.
- Note that no person is required to provide proof of any of the exemptions
- The By-law applies to customer use of transit and facilities but does not apply to Regional staff or agents in the course of their work. However, the following section outlines the requirements for GRT employees and their agents.
Employee requirements for Face Coverings
- GRT employees are required to wear a face covering when entering or exiting buses, on platforms and in shelters.
- Drivers are not required to wear a face covering while behind the barrier.
- MobilityPLUS operators will continue to wear masks and face shields/safety glasses when assisting customers on or off the bus
- Employees traveling on transit as riders are required to wear a face covering
- Employees working in Customer Service Centers and behind partitions are not required to wear a face covering.
- Employees working or moving about in the public areas of transit facilities are required to wear a face covering
- Employees working in non-public areas of a transit building or facility are not required to wear a face covering provided 2m separation can be maintained.
Key messages for Bus Operators – What is your Responsibility?
The focus is on education and information, not enforcement.
Employees will NOT deny service or entry to the system to any customer who is not wearing face covering. Do not ask anyone to leave the bus, building or property if they are not wearing a face covering. For the week of July 13 when the by-law takes effect, if a customer is not wearing a face covering when they board please remind them of the requirement. As not all customers can wear a mask, the following wording should be used.
“If you are able, please wear a face covering on your next trip. Thank you”.
Also, please look for opportunities to thank customers for wearing a face covering. If an incident or disturbance arises on a bus or train Operators should follow current policies and procedures and contact a Supervisor
- Do not involve yourself directly;
- Call a Supervisor for assistance.
Beginning July 13, to support the requirements to wear masks, GRT employees will be out at various Transit Stations to provide a limited supply of masks for customers who don’t have one or forgot their face covering. You will note the on-bus, platform and shelter signage and announcements will change to the new by-law requirements over the next two weeks.
Exceptions and Accessibility Considerations
Ask yourself, why might someone not be able to wear a face covering?
- Is the child under age of 5 years
- If a customer says they cannot wear a face covering, take them at their word and allow them to use the service
- Remember that not all disabilities are visible.
- Some customers may have difficulty hearing you if you are wearing a face covering. Similarly, customers may have difficulty hearing you from behind a barrier and if you are wearing a face covering.
- Be patient. Look at and speak directly to the customer. Speak clearly and audibly to ensure the customer is better able to hear you. Don’t shout.
- If you cannot understand what the customer is saying because of their face covering, politely ask them to repeat themselves.
Thank you for your cooperation and continued efforts to implement the many safety practices and procedures we have implemented over the last several months.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Supervisor.
Director, Transit Services
Notice – 2020-1779