Face coverings on buses mandatory
For the foreseeable future, the Government has made masks on public transport across the country mandatory.
This Government mandate includes the BOP’s humble Bayhopper service with both drivers and passengers sporting masks as they travelled around the region this week.
In addition, only 20 passengers at a time will be allowed on the Bayhopper service.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council legal and commercial manager Jessica Easton says at this stage, the obligation to wear a face covering is on individual passengers, and bus operators and drivers are not expected to assume the role of enforcement officer.
“The Government has said enforcement of the rules will be a light touch, starting with engagement, encouragement and education.
“We’ll continue to remind people to follow instructions regarding face coverings and physical distancing.”
For those who haven’t yet managed to purchase a mask or make a covering, the Government is supplying all bus operators with disposable face coverings to give to passengers.
Jessica says this is a one-off limited provision to help smooth the transition to mandatory face covering on public transport.
It's compulsory for everyone aged 12 and over to wear a face covering on buses under Alert Level 2 and above with exemptions for health, disability and practicality reasons.
Jessica says face coverings don’t need to be worn on some school buses and advised parents and caregivers to check with their school or the Baybus website to see if this applied to their children’s bus.
The Government is expected to review New Zealand’s alert levels again on Friday.