BC Ferries adds extra sailings, but passengers urged to avoid non-essential travel

BC Ferries is adding a “limited number” of extra sailings on its coastal routes this weekend, but is urging the public to avoid all non-essential travel.

Provincial health officials have not banned travel, but have urged British Columbians in the strongest terms to remain in their home communities unless absolutely necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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BC Ferries spokesperson Astrid Chang said the additional sailings were intended primarily to address a surge in commercial traffic.

“In some cases, our commercial traffic is up on our routes for this period,” she said.

“You have to keep in mind we continue to move essential goods and services to coastal communities up and down British Columbia — that’s holiday packages, Christmas packages, groceries, other essential goods and services.”

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People who are making use of the ferry system are reminded of the service’s COVID-19 protocols, which include the mandatory use of masks at terminals and aboard vessels.

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Passengers are also reminded they are not allowed to remain in their vehicles on enclosed ferry decks.

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BC Ferries says the extra sailings are limited, adding they don’t come close when comparing to the 170 additional sailings last Christmas.

Chang asked the public to respect the direction of health officials about sticking close to home.

If passengers aren’t sure whether their proposed travel is considered essential, Chang asked that they err on the side of caution.

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“When in doubt. rule it out,” she said.

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