BC Ferries to temporarily allow passengers on closed car decks starting today

Mar 17 2020, 11:20 am

BC Ferries has been granted permission by the federal government to allow passengers to remain in their vehicles on enclosed car decks during the growing COVID-19 pandemic.

The new temporary policy goes into effect today, until further notice, allowing the public and businesses to practice social distancing and self-isolation. This decision was the result of collaboration between Transport Canada and the Canadian Ferry Association.

“BC Ferries, the Province, and the Federal Government are doing everything they can to help prevent the spread of this illness,” said Mark Collins, president and CEO of BC Ferries, in a statement.

The 2017-enacted policy by Transport Canada of banning passengers from remaining in their vehicles on enclosed decks was to ensure safety in the case of an emergency, specifically fire.

“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.”

The ferry corporation has ramped up its cleansing and disinfecting protocols onboard vessels and at the terminal facilities. The onboard Pacific Buffet restaurants have been closed, and signage has been posted encouraging passengers to practice proper hand washing and social distancing.

BC Ferries is also advising the public to check the sailing schedules for any updates. A number of sailings have been cancelled in recent days due to falling demand.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you are urged to not travel.

With coronavirus on the rise, BC public health authorities are reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.