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Halifax Transit union wants masks for passengers to be mandatory
DARTMOUTH, N.S. -- Passengers returning to public transit in many Maritime cities are required to wear masks.
However, that's not the case in Halifax, although the bus drivers believe it should be.
It appears the level of concern varies depending on who you ask.
"Right now, it's not safe because the COVID is still here," said passenger Oscar Ramiscem.
In a statement, the Halifax Regional Municipality told CTV News the mask policy on buses has not changed.
But they also said "we are strongly encouraging all Halifax transit riders to wear masks when possible."
Transit union vice-president Shane O'Leary says the policy is flawed.
"A strong suggestion is not enough," O'Leary said.
As of next week, bus passengers in Moncton, Fredericton, and Saint John will be required to wear face masks.
The transit union wants the same rules to be mandated by Halifax Transit.
O'Leary says it would help keep passengers safe and it would alleviate the growing fears felt by drivers.
"If this virus is going to spread, it's going to spread through the transit system," O'Leary said.
At least one Halifax Transit passenger wants drivers included if new mask-wearing regulations are implemented.
"I see some of the drivers, they're not wearing a mask," said passenger Cathy Young. "I think they should."
O'Leary says some drivers have chosen to wear masks, but many do not.
"It's not mandated that they have to," O'Leary said.
O'Leary says the union is also pushing the city for partitions to help separate drivers from passengers.
The city said in a release late Tuesday afternoon those shields will be installed in July.
Transit fare collection remains suspended, but the shields will allow for safe fare collection to be re-introduced in the near future.