VICTORIA -- BC Transit is officially making the use of masks mandatory while aboard buses this summer.

Starting Aug. 24, transit riders will be required to wear a face mask, with exceptions being made for children under the age of five and for people who may have special health needs.

BC Transit says that while masks will be mandatory, no enforcement from transit staff will take place. Instead, BC Transit will be redoubling education and awareness efforts.

Education, rather than enforcement, is an approach that BC Transit says it shares with other transit agencies, like TransLink.

“We recognize the advice from health professionals, including provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, has been to wear face coverings when physical distancing is not possible including on transit vehicles,” said BC Transit in a release Thursday.

“We will work hard to ensure customers are aware of our new policy over the coming weeks, and work together to make transit a comfortable environment for staff and customers.”

BC Transit says it will also partner with local governments to hand out free promotional face masks later this summer.

“Public transit continues to be an essential service that people rely on, and we appreciate the work of our transit operators to keep these services running throughout the pandemic response and recovery,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in a statement.

“Knowing your fellow bus passengers will also be wearing a non-surgical mask or face covering will help boost people’s confidence in choosing transit while contributing to a welcoming and safe environment on our buses.”