Halifax Transit drivers getting fed up with toothless mask rule
HALIFAX -- If you hop on a Halifax Transit bus without a mask, the driver can advise you about the mandatory measure, but can't prevent you from boarding.
As a result, three Halifax Transit drivers have refused work, saying their safety is at risk because the rule has no teeth.
"Two last week and one today," said Ken Wilson, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 508. "The safety committee met yesterday and unfortunately, we could not reach a unanimous decision, so now it's either to the labour board, or the member has to retract his concern and go back to work."
Speaking on CTV News last week, the mayor of Halifax said drivers would be getting more support.
"If somebody refuses and doesn't follow those rules then the bus will pull over, we'll talk to a supervisor," Mayor Mike Savage said last week.
According to the union, the policy was short-lived.
"By Friday afternoon, they were being flat-out refused a supervisor," Wilson said.
In a statement to CTV News Tuesday, City Hall restated it policy that nobody will be denied transit -- without or without a facial covering.
Nova Scotia's top doctor says too many people are making the decision to not wear a mask, simply because they don't want to.
"Stop arguing with the people who drive our buses, who work in our access centres and who manage our retail stores when they tell you to put on a mask," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, during a news conference on Tuesday.
There's support on the street for drivers being able to prevent people from boarding without a mask.
"I believe bus drivers should absolutely refuse that because its their own health and safety at risk," said one Haligonian.
"Their safety is just as important as the rest of the public," said another.
City Hall and the union agree on one thing: that the vast majority of people taking transit are wearing a mask.