Full press release can be found here.
BC Ferries is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy travel experience for our passengers and employees. Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to ensure continued safe transport of critical goods and supplies to coastal B.C. communities. With the ability for passengers to stay in their vehicle on any car deck, access open air decks and spread out throughout the ship, there are many ways our employees are working hard to maintain the vital service we provide for B.C.’s coastal communities.
Essential travel only
In line with directions provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and other leading health authorities, BC Ferries is advising customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time.
Many communities served by BC Ferries have issued advisories to travellers notifying them of limited supplies, healthcare equipment and resources. Travellers should inform themselves of local situations before travelling, especially when travelling to northern communities such as Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Klemtu, Ocean Falls, Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, Shearwater and Haida Gwaii. The travel distances to these communities are long and the communities have limited resources for medical and other situations.
Other communities including Bowen Island, the qathet (Powell River) Regional District, and some Northern and Southern Gulf Islands have also issued advisories. According to health authorities, staying at home and avoiding non-essential travel helps to “flatten the curve” and reduces the risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
BC Ferries provides a lifeline to remote and to coastal communities in British Columbia, and will continue to provide vital services, such as delivering medical supplies and groceries to support communities, and transporting emergency workers, doctors and nurses, safely.
Cleaning and food services
Our crews have been – and continue to – take extra measures to clean and disinfect all touch points. To support physical distancing and reduce the risk of spreading infectious disease including COVID-19, all catering and retail services are closed until further notice. This applies to over the counter service and ‘grab and go’ pre-packaged items. Vending machines are available at select terminals and on board select ferries, but will not be restocked once depleted.
Outlets that are closed until further notice include: Passages Gift Shop, Seawest Lounge, Coastal Café, Coast Café Express, Arbutus Coffee Bar, Pacific Buffet, Sitka Coffee Place, Kids Zone play area, Video Zone arcade, Tsawwassen and Departure Bay Quay Markets,
We are strongly advising passengers to stay in their vehicles, regardless of their car deck, during the crossing. If you must come up to the passenger decks, please maintain physical distancing on board, and stay at least two metres away from employees. Our crew are making announcements asking customers to stay in their cars, distance themselves if they must come upstairs and wash their hands.
BC Ferries is asking customers to use electronic payment (Debit, Credit or Experience™ Card) only during this time. We recently completed the installation of Debit at terminal vehicle and foot passenger ticketing areas. Tap and pay capability for both credit and debit is available for customers with transactions under the $100 tap limit.