Tuesday, March 17, 2020

BC Ferries gains temporary waiver for Transport Canada rules on enclosed deck travel

After some strong and vocal intercession from the Premier and provincial government, Transport Canada appears to have heard the call for relaxation of their rules on ferry transportation, allowing passengers on BC Ferries to self-isolate in the vehicles on enclosed decks if they wish or are required to do.

BC Ferries outlined the background to the revision through a statement issued earlier today.

"Starting today, BC Ferries will allow customers to remain in their vehicles on the enclosed car deck during the COVID-19 situation, to help support social distancing and self isolation. The decision is the result of collaboration between Transport Canada and the Canadian Ferry Association to provide ferry operators with important flexibility to help protect passengers and their families from COVID-19 related risks, while also ensuring additional measures are taken to ensure passenger safety."-- Portion of a BC Ferries statement today

BC Ferries President and CEO Mark Collins also made note of additional measures that the Ferry Corporation is taking in answer to the COVID-19 situation.

“BC Ferries, the Province, and the Federal Government are doing everything they can to help prevent the spread of this illness. At BC Ferries, we proactively took measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including increasing cleaning on board and at our terminals, closing the Pacific Buffet, as well as posting signage encouraging customers to practice good hand washing and social distancing.”

To this point there is no indication as to how that suspension may impact on the longer routes such as those in Northern British Columbia waters.

Update: Early Evening BC Ferries noted that:

At this time, Transport Canada has not yet lifted the regulation on our Northern routes. More information should be available soon.

BC Ferries has noted how the rapidly evolving situation could provide for service challenges, but have in the past noted that their goal is still to provide for service on the Norther Routes with the Prince Rupert-Haida Gwaii service a key part of the supply chain.

The full statement on the revisions to the travel regulations can be found here.

More advisories from Provincial sources can be reviewed here, while items of local note can be explored here.

Cross posted from the North Coast Review.

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