While the Canadian government had previously said that it was suspending Canada’s cruise ship season until July 1 of this year, BC health officials said on Tuesday that people should not expect ships to start rolling in and out of BC ports once that date arrives.
“We’ve had those conversations with out counterparts in the federal government,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during a press conference on Tuesday. “We are, as you can imagine, not in favour of any cruise ships coming into any of our ports in BC, and I can tell you that my conversations with my counterparts in the Yukon, Alaska, and Washington State are similarly not expecting to have cruise ships in our waters or in our ports in the coming weeks and months.”
Henry noted that for anyone coming into the province, the requirement still exists to self-isolate for 14 days.
“So if a cruise ship had somehow planned to come here, then we would not be allowing people to come off the cruise ship,” she said. “This is not the time for that type of a risk to be taken in our province, and certainly not in our ports, and the orders that we have here in BC certainly will stand through July 1.”
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The federal ban on cruise ships was put in place in mid-March and at the time, it was estimated that the decision would affect over 250,000 passengers on over 30 ships across about 120 visits to the Canada Place cruise ship terminal by the end of June.
In 2019, the Port of Vancouver saw nearly 1.1 million cruise ship passengers on 290 ship visits, which was an all-time record — a 21% increase over the 2018 cruise season.
The national ban also applies to cruise ships visiting Victoria, where over 700,000 cruise ship passengers were recorded in 2019.
Last year, cruise port facilities in Quebec City and Halifax saw 200,000 passengers and 324,000 passengers, respectively.