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No more staying in your car on most BC Ferries routes, Transport Canada says

People driving onto a BC Ferries vessel will no longer be allowed to shelter in their own pandemic-proof bubble by remaining in their cars. That's because on Sept.

30, Transport Canada is rescinding the temporary measure it granted to BC Ferries in the spring that allowed passengers to stay in their vehicles.

According to Transport Canada, adequate measures are now in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and it isn't safe for people to be in their vehicles during sailings on most routes. "BC Ferries must comply with Transport Canada regulations and the company supports the regulation and its intent," reads an announcement from the federal department. "Enclosed car decks are spaces that represent inherent risk to the travelling public."

BC Ferries president Mark Collins says any passenger who fails to follow the directions of crew members will be denied service. "We expect our customers to follow the law and we continue to have zero tolerance policy for abuse of any kind toward our employees," he said.  Areas on some boats that were previously closed, like the Pacific Buffet, will reopen for seating only to give more space for passengers to physically distance.

COVID-19 protocols of additional cleaning and the requirement to physically distance and wear a face mask while on board remain in place. 

The routes affected are:

  • Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay
  • Tsawwassen-Duke Point
  • Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay
  • Powell River-Comox
  • Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands

On the Horseshoe Bay-Langdale route, Transport Canada is allowing passengers to remain on the main vehicle deck following modifications to the vessels and procedures.

This does not apply to any other routes.

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