Police called to deal with anti-mask protesters on B.C. Ferries this past weekend kept the peace, but didn’t issue any tickets.
Const. Kevin Goodmurphy, West Vancouver Police spokesman, said officers were called Saturday morning to meet a ferry sailing from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay after a report that approximately 50 passengers on board were refusing to wear face masks.
“Ferry staff indicated that they were mingling with masked passengers, not respecting personal space and apparently they had allegedly been engaging in verbal disputes,” Goodmurphy said.
He added that West Van Police did not receive any reports of any physical altercation.
Goodmurphy said by the time police arrived, ferry passengers were preparing to disembark and any “rallying, if you will,” had dispersed.
“We didn’t witness any over rules being broken when it comes to the COVID-19 regulations, so we did not issue any fines…” he said. “Really our intention was to make sure that everyone was behaving themselves and we were just there to keep the peace and get people moving as best they could.”
Goodmurphy said West Van Police identified two vehicles associated with the group and both drivers confirmed they were travelling to a rally in downtown Vancouver. He said B.C. Ferries issued protesters 24-hour bans from ferry corporation property.
B.C. Ferries said Saturday that it won’t tolerate non-compliance with its mandatory mask policy and will ban travellers from passage. B.C. Premier John Horgan said people who aren’t prepared to follow B.C. Ferries’ health and safety rules should “buy a boat.”
Goodmurphy said as far as he knows, Saturday’s incident was the first time police had been called to Horseshoe Bay terminal for that purpose. He said West Van Police have issued some tickets for violations of the COVID-19 Related Measures Act, mostly at house parties, but also ticketed two people last week who hadn’t quarantined after arriving from the United States.