Just after midnight on Sunday February 21, 2021 Nanaimo RCMP were called to the Departure Bay ferry terminal to meet the Queen of Cowichan, that was arriving from Horseshoe Bay. The attending officers were told that two passengers were being escorted off the ferry after refusing to follow COVID protocols while onboard.
BC ferries staff informed the officers that the two woman, ages 19 and 43, were walk on passengers, and immediately upon boarding the ferry were advised that all passengers were required to wear masks. The two ignored the warning and walked past the BC Ferries employee, and on to the ferry.
They continued to ignore other employees demands to wear masks, and throughout the sailing were heard yelling, screaming and generally being abusive to staff. When the ferry docked in Nanaimo, officers promptly arrested them for Mischief and Cause Disturbance.
The officers noted that the two woman showed signs of impairment by alcohol and were quite confrontational with the officers. In fact, one of them screamed at an officer that she was going to kill him. The other said that she would sue both officers for false arrest and ensure they lost their pensions.
The officers did not respond to these threats but did arrest them for being intoxicated in a public place. The two woman were escorted to the Nanaimo detachment and lodged in cells for the remainder of the evening.
Several hours later and when sober, the woman were served with violation tickets under the Emergency Program Act (COVID-19) Face Coverings Order for Failure to Wear Face covering ($230), and Abusive or Belligerent behaviour ($230).
“It should be noted that the two had reusable non-medical masks in their possession at all times but simply chose to not to wear them. Additionally, the arresting officers elected not to pursue the criminal charges.” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.