BC Ferries asks sick passengers to avoid travel amid coronavirus outbreak

Mar 10 2020, 10:58 am

After BC health officials announced Canada’s first COVID-19-related death and six new cases were identified over the weekend, the province is ramping up its response to transit and travel to minimize the spread of the virus.

BC Ferries says they are taking steps to sanitize vessels.

“We have standard procedures in place to mitigate the spread of illness on our ferries and at our terminals,” said Deborah Marshall, Executive Director, Public Affairs with the BC Ferry Services, in a statement to Daily Hive.

“As a precaution, crews at our terminals and on board our vessels are taking extra measures to clean all touch points and hard surfaces. BC Ferries is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for our employees and our customers.”

While the risk to British Columbians is deemed low according to the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada, Marshall says BC Ferries is continuing to closely monitor the situation as it unfolds

“If passengers are ill, we recommend they don’t travel until they are better,” said Marshall.

“If someone self identifies as having an infectious illness, where possible, we can help the person separate themselves from other passengers to help to prevent the spread of the infection.”

Marshall says that due to Transport Canada regulations, passengers are unable to remain in their vehicles and should let staff know if they are ill.

“Transport Canada regulations do not permit passengers to remain in their vehicles on an enclosed vehicle deck,” said Marshall.

“Passengers are permitted to stay in their vehicles on the open vehicle decks of our ferries.”

TransLink is also taking extra precautions to minimize the spread of infection and increase sanitation on buses and trains.

People are also being reminded by health officials of preventative steps they can take themselves, which include the following:

• Regular hand washing for at least 20 seconds using soap and water
• Using alcohol-based hand rubs to clean hands if they are not visibly soiled
• Avoiding touching your face/eyes/mouth with unwashed hands
• Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow