BC Ferries continues to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic but is urging customers to only travel if absolutely necessary.
Last week, the company announced that it had seen a traffic decline of nearly 40%, which in turn led to reducing sailing frequencies for the month of April.
According to a statement from BC Ferries, many of their services are being used to deliver essential goods to urban and remote communities, such as the Gulf Islands or smaller towns on the northern half of British Columbia.
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This includes items like groceries and medical supplies. In order to continue carrying these goods, however, they’re urging against all non-essential travel.
“BC Ferries is advising customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time,” the company said. They note, however, that they haven’t been instructed to restrict travel by any governing bodies.
Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ president and CEO, adds that they’ve taken extensive measures to make voyages safer for riders.
“None of us should be travelling if it is not essential,” he says. “We want our customers that need to travel to know that we have taken steps to keep ferry travel as safe as possible.”
He also asks customers to “adhere to safe practices for their own safety and for the safety of BC Ferries employees.”
Some measures that BC Ferries has taken include additional cleaning and disinfecting, allowing for passengers to remain in their vehicles on most decks, and requiring customers to use an electronic form of payment, such as a debit or credit card.
The overhead walkways, as well as food and retail services, have also been closed.
With files from Kenneth Chan.