While setting out on open waters may seem like the ultimate method of social and physical distancing, the Canadian Coast Guard is requesting that mariners in British Columbia reconsider embarking on voyages during the coronavirus pandemic.
Canadian Coast Guard assistant commissioner, Roger Girouard, issued a statement to seafarers, urging them to avoid all non-essential trips and stay home.
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In the statement, Girouard explains that the Coast Guard has already received a “greater number” of Search and Rescue requests in BC compared to this same time last year.
“With each response, our Search and Rescue specialists put themselves at risk of exposure to COVID-19 and use precious supplies of Personal Protective Equipment that is also much needed by critical care workers,” he states.
We continue to maintain our #SearchAndRescue operations. However, to help #FlattenTheCurve, you should stay home, unless you really need to go out. By doing so, you help keep yourself and our crews safe. pic.twitter.com/c13BgF5TD5
— Canadian Coast Guard (@CoastGuardCAN) April 24, 2020
Girouard also emphasizes that many BC coastal communities are small and have closed themselves to ensure the safety of their residents.
He continues that unsolicited visitors in such areas could have substantial impacts on vulnerable populations in these communities as well as put an unnecessary strain on their already-limited health care resources.
“Home and within close proximity to health care is the best place you can be right now,” Girouard states, “But we are also navigating uncharted waters right now, and it is up to all of us to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 so that one day soon, we can fully enjoy the peace and beauty of coastal British Columbia.”