BC seeking second exemption for ferry passengers to remain in cars

Dec 2 2020, 3:01 pm

BC is asking for another exemption to Transport Canada’s rules so that ferry passengers can stay inside their cars on the lower decks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BC Premier John Horgan said the province is talking with Transport Minister Marc Garneau while speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

“I would prefer people stay in isolation in their car rather than going into a communal area where they can contract COVID-19,” Horgan said.

Transport Canada rules say people are not allowed to stay in their vehicles while travelling on fully enclosed ferry decks for safety reasons.

It’s dangerous if there was ever a fire on board, BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall told Daily Hive.

“Enclosed car decks are designed to contain smoke and fire, to protect the other levels of the ship and allow more time for passengers and crew to safely evacuate in the event of an emergency,” she said.

But Transport Canada gave BC Ferries an exemption during the first wave of the pandemic so that customers could safely physically distance.

However, that exemption was rescinded on September 30, and since then there have been several reports of ferry passengers refusing to exit their vehicles.

BC is now deep in its second wave of the pandemic, seeing hundreds of new infections every day. Horgan hopes that Transport Canada will grant a second exemption given the circumstances.

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