The Oceania Regatta docks in the Prince Rupert harbour in 2017. Shannon Lough photo

Cruise ship ban to hit Prince Rupert hard

Ottawa prohibits all international cruise ships from docking in Canada, including Prince Rupert, amid COVID-19 fears

The coronavirus is expected to have a significant financial impact on Prince Rupert tourism economy this summer, following Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s announcement Friday that cruise ships carrying more than 500 people are prohibited from docking in Canada until at least July 1.

The restriction will apply to ports in the North for the whole season, he said, because the risk from COVID-19 is greater in more remote communities.

Five ships were scheduled to dock in Prince Rupert between now and July 1, including Cunard Line’s large luxury liner with a crew and passenger capacity of almost 3,200 people.

As of March 13 the cruise ship schedule on the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s website had been removed.

In an emailed statement to Black Press, spokesperson for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Monika Cote, wrote the PRPA is currently assessing the specifics of these measures to determine the impact to the 2020 cruise season prior to July 1, 2020.

“It has yet to be determined if vessels that were scheduled to visit prior to July 1st, 2020 will postpone their visit until the restriction is lifted. Currently, the first cruise call under the new start date for the 2020 cruise season will be Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen on July 5. PRPA will provide an update should any additional changes to the 2020 cruise schedule occur.”

In addition to the five shipps affected by the ban, thirteen vessels are scheduled to call on Prince Rupert after July 1. However as Canada’s chief public health officer and other health officials urge Canadians to avoid travelling on all cruise ships, it’s possible the industry will not recover to full capacity this season.

For workers and families impacted by precautionary measures like the cruise ship ban, the Bank of Canada announced Friday it will lower the cost of borrowing for individuals and businesses.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said Friday the government will help those financially impacted by the pandemic to ensure they can meet such basic needs like paying rent or a mortgage, and buying food.

“We are looking at ways to help Canadians directly,” Trudeau said.

More to come.

how much money lost to port

how will affect staff, employment, job loss?

what percentage of business or revenue does the cruiship industry bring to the port

Government assistance?

Cruises after July 1 still on?

How was this season looking compared to others—looks like you had a lot of cruises coming in

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