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HomeBusinessCOVID: Richmond ICBC staff call Mounties over coronavirus fear

COVID: Richmond ICBC staff call Mounties over coronavirus fear

Bob Mackin

MoveUp, the union representing ICBC workers, is urging the public to self-isolate and avoid unnecessary interactions with service workers after a March 19 incident at the ICBC driver licensing office in Richmond.

Lansdowne Centre (Colliers Canada)

theBreaker.news learned that RCMP officers were called to deal with a client wearing a surgical mask. Staff witnessed the man coughing and sneezing, and believed the man was exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, so they asked him to leave. But he refused, according to a source.

Richmond RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dennis Hwang said the incident happened shortly after 9 a.m.

“The man was located, identified as a 31-year old from Nanaimo, and left voluntarily on foot,” Hwang said by email. “He was not permitted to drive. The man was believed to be attending for legitimate business.”

In an interview, MoveUp vice-president Annette Toth said people need to think of others, have patience and ask themselves whether they really need to visit ICBC right now.

“Does my 16-year-old need to get their learner’s licence now? Can they wait a couple weeks?” Toth said. “The non-essential ones, the ones that don’t have to be looked after now, please stay home, please wait. Please give us time so we can handle and deal with the people that need to be looked after.”

MoveUp is aware of people directed to self-isolate upon return from international trips to high-risk countries who have provided false information to ICBC staff members in order to receive service.

“Our staff and all the citizens are hoping people will be honest and forthright, that is putting other peoples lives in jeopardy by not being truthful,” she said. “Everywhere, people need to take this seriously and recognize that they need to be home when they come back from another country and need to self-isolate.”

All road tests are suspended for at least two weeks, without cancellation fees. Toth said ICBC is continuing to receive 5,000 visits a day at driver licensing offices across the province and talks are underway about more ways to lighten the load. 

In a prepared statement, ICBC said it is following recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer to limit transmission of the virus. Every customer that visits is supposed to be asked coronavirus screening questions. If they answer yes to any of the questions, they are asked to return at a later date. Access is limited to waiting areas, to ensure social distancing. 

MoveUp has 12,000 members, mainly in B.C., also including staff at BC Hydro and FortisBC.

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