VICTORIA -- British Columbia's transit operator is reminding bus riders that masks will be mandatory for all riders starting Monday.

BC Transit says exceptions will be allowed for children under five and those who cannot wear a face covering due to existing health issues.

Riders will be expected to bring their own mask for their journey.

"We have been working hard to ensure customers are aware of our new policy through promotion and signage," the transit operator said in a statement Friday.

"We will continue to work with our local government partners to make transit a comfortable environment for staff and customers."

BC Transit has been distributing free face coverings across the province this week.

“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 the transit operator.