BC Ferries
(BC Ferries)

BC Ferries is reducing the number of sailings between Vancouver and Victoria for two more days after first cancelling sailings on Sunday and Monday, due to lower traffic levels.

On Tuesday, March 17th the ferries will not be running from Swartz Bay (Victoria) at 12 p.m. and from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) terminal 2 p.m.

On Wednesday, March 18th, the 12 p.m. departing from Swartz Bay and the 2 p.m. departing from Tsawwassen terminal are both cancelled.

Passengers with reserved sailings will be accommodated on a later trip wherever possible. Those who decide to cancel their bookings will be issued a full refund.

“Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to clean and disinfect all touch points. Touch point cleaning focusses on common areas and locations that are touched frequently by people throughout the day,” reads a notice from BC Ferries.

“They include hard surfaces such as tables, handrails, payment pin pads, door handles, and elevator buttons. We have also stepped up our cleaning protocols in all washroom facilities.”

Furthermore, the company has also closed the Pacific Buffet service, normally available on the Spirit of Vancouver Island, the Spirit of British Columbia and the Coastal Celebration vessels, until further notice to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission.

In a statement to Victoria Buzz, BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall confirmed that the company has been in talks with Transport Canada about the closed car deck regulations in which passengers are not allowed to stay in their vehicles below deck.

During this period of global COVID-19 pandemic when all authorities are urging measures to increase social distancing, this rule has been criticized by politicians and health care experts alike.

“We are waiting to hear if they are going to make any temporary changes to the regulation at this time,” said Marshall.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

There are now 30 new cases of novel coronavirus in B.C., including seven on Vancouver Island, bringing the total number of cases to 103 in the province.

Six people are now in acute care in hospital, while everyone else is recovering at home in isolation, in stable condition. Three people have died due to novel coronavirus, all of whom were residents at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver. This brings the COVID-19 death toll to four in B.C.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

Designated exceptions to this rule include U.S. citizens, airline crews, diplomats, and people whose immediate families are Canadian.

Moreover international flights will now be restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

Further federal measures to financially support Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable population, are expected to be announced on Tuesday.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 182,550.

Nearly 7,170 people have died from the illness and 79,881 have made a full recovery.

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