BC Ferries Says Canada’s New Travel Restrictions Don't Apply To Them

The COVID-19 conference introduced several new travel advisories.
BC Ferries Says Canada’s New Travel Restrictions Don't Apply To Them

Cruise season is coming to an abrupt end for Canadians. The federal government announced on Friday, March 13, 2020, that all cruise ships and ferries capable of holding over 500 people are banned from docking in Canada. However, BC Ferries confirms that they are not part of this advisory. 

Following a COVID-19 conference, a press conference took place in which the federal government shared new details of how Canada plans on containing the virus

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief medical officer, laid out a list of travel measures that are going to be implemented going forward, as stated by CBC News,

Among them was the barring of boats and cruises carrying over 500 people. These vessels will not be allowed to dock in Canadian waters. 

She also announced that Canadian airports will enhance screening procedures at airports in addition to marine, land and rail ports of entry. 

CTV News reported that the Transport Minister Marc Garneau is set to reconsider the ban on June 30, 2020. 

Currently, they're still allowing smaller cruise ships and ferries to sail on Canadian waters. But they will be enforcing specific precautions to observe all passengers going in and out of the ships. 

BC Ferries is a major player in the B.C. region in terms of providing transportation to thousands of passengers every day around Vancouver Island and nearby ports. 

In an email sent to Narcity, BC Ferries said, "transport Canada’s restrictions on cruise ships do not apply to BC Ferries." 

In another email, they referenced Transport Canada's press release which outlines the federal agency's plans to defer the start of the cruise ship season. 

"While this measure does not apply to ferries or smaller vessels at this time, the Government of Canada is also developing an approach to ensure health measures are strengthened in all passenger vessels across Canada," the press release reads. 

BC Ferries operates 30 routes around the region, including notable destinations in Victoria, Nanaimo Island, and Port Hardy. 

Their website provides a comprehensive list of all the ports around the region in which they dock.

The list also includes vital information such as the time of departure and the number of scheduled fleets on any given day. The page is updated daily, based on the routes scheduled for the day. 

One of their biggest ships, the Spirit of British Columbia, has a capacity of 2100 people and 358 cars. It runs on the Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay route, which features ports on Delta and Victoria. 

Similarly, another ship, the Spirit of Vancouver Island also has a capacity of 2100 passengers and 358 cars. It runs on the same route.

There are sixteen ships in the total fleet that have a capacity of over 500 passengers and crew. 

CTV News stated that BC Ferries told them earlier this week about how they're enhancing the cleaning procedures amidst the outbreak. They also told all sick passengers to stay home. 

People who want to self-isolate in their cars during the journey can choose to do so but it's against Transport Canada regulations to remain inside cars on closed car decks, they told CTV News. 

On Thursday, March 12, B.C. health authorities asked people to cancel any gatherings that would involve more than 250 people. This won't include shopping malls, airports, grocery stores, or religious gatherings. 

As for transportation, BC Ferries is continuing to run its sailings as normal with added precautions. 

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