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Opinion: Group flouting mask rules on Burnaby SkyTrain is enraging (video)

Where is a transit cop when you need one?
no masks skytrain covid
A group of young people on SkyTrain without masks.

I really feel for Daryl Dela Cruz.

He’s a passionate transit advocate – especially the proposed Burnaby Mountain gondola - who has to use TransLink services a lot amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While I get to work from home and have a vehicle, Dela Cruz has to risk things by being on the SkyTrain – which wouldn’t be so bad if people actually followed the damn rules to wear a mask.

It happens more than you realize and Dela Cruz documents it on his Twitter account with photos and videos.

The latest one that made me feel like blood was coming out of my eyes was a group of at least six 20-somethings laughing and giggling on SkyTrain without masks before exiting at Burnaby’s Metrotown station. You can see them in the photo above and in the video he posted about it.

Not a bloody care in the world for themselves or other people. One is even seen with her hands on one of the rails swinging around like she's in a frigging playground.

Where is a transit cop when you need one?

“This is actually the first time I spotted a group like this,” Dela Cruz told me. “Every other time it’s been individuals. What’s becoming increasingly clear to me is that there are many people who don’t have a very good understanding or even any understanding at all of how masks protect people. Individuals not wearing masks show up on transit from time to time, but I don’t even think this is the biggest problem. What I’m seeing even more of is people who have their masks on, but then are not wearing those masks properly. Like, riders wearing their masks below their nose, or even below their chin, and sometimes there are even riders who will move it back and forth so that it’s over the nose one moment and below it the next. I’ve also seen a few people on transit with masks down on chins whilst having lengthy phone calls, which is actually also something that should be avoided because talking expels a lot more air than just breathing.”

With new variants being documented in B.C., people are at even more risk now of getting COVID-19.

Masks are an effective tool to help protect your and others. It’s so simple to wear. It’s not easy at first, but you do get used to them.

“Speaking as someone who has lived in Japan (where mask use in public is commonplace), I feel like masks are the best and most underappreciated tool we have in fighting the pandemic,” Dela Cruz said. “In cities like Tokyo or Osaka with extensive train networks, stations are still bustling and trains still carry the infamous crushloads of passengers every single day, and yet COVID transmission is not occurring within these crowds. The country has gone as far as saying that recent COVID transmission is concentrated at intimate, mask-off settings like restaurants and bars, and not in public places, most likely because there is near 100% compliance on wearing masks.”

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.