BC Ferries is making it clear it supports the new provincial health orders restricting travel and will deny passage to travellers for non-essential purposes when crossing regional health authority zones the ferry company announced, on April 22.
“BC Ferries supports doing everything we can to discourage non-essential travel, and this order gives us the legal authority we need to deny travel for non-essential reasons,” Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ president and CEO, said.
Affected routes will be between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, Comox and Powell River, Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay, Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, Tsawwassen and Duke Point as well as Tsawwassen and Southern Gulf Islands.
“Customers on these routes will be asked if their travel is essential, and denied passage if it is not essential,” BC Ferries stated in a media release. “Customers travelling on routes that operate within the same regional zone will be reminded they should be avoiding non-essential travel at this time.”
“It is vitally important for people to stay close to home over these next five weeks so we can drive down the spread of COVID and look forward to a more familiar summer,” Rob Fleming, minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said. “The vast majority of people are putting the health and safety of others first, and the added measures we’re now taking are meant to ensure others don’t travel unless it is essential.”
BC Ferries has a zero tolerance policy for abuse, both verbal and physical, towards its employees. Any customer who abuses an employee will be banned from travel. The company stated that it will be relying on the assistance of other jurisdictional authorities for the enforcement of the new health orders.
Customers are being asked to be kind to other passengers who are travelling for essential reasons.
“It is possible customers may be travelling with out-of-province license plates or recreational vehicles for essential reasons. Please continue to be kind, be calm and be safe towards our employees and other customers.”
The ferry company stated there will be no extra sailings scheduled for the upcoming May holiday weekend.
Passengers using the online booking flow of the website will be asked to make a declaration to ensure customers read and acknowledge they are travelling for essential reasons.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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