Black Ball Ferry Line is the latest travel company to close their doors due to the evolving global COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement made on March 18 2020 by the ferry service, they will be cancelling all scheduled MV Coho trips from March 30th to April 30th 2020.
Until suspension of services, the ferry line will continue to operate to allow for the return of U.S. and Canadian citizens back to their home countries. The Coho will also facilitate commercial cargo service until that time.
The last sailing of the MV Coho from Port Angeles will depart at 2:00pm on Sunday, March 29th, with the last sailing from Victoria departing at 4:00pm the same day.
“These are unprecedented times, and we take our role as an essential service provider seriously,” reads a statement from the company.
“Whether it’s a Canadian returning from their winter home or an American in a similar situation, we are remaining open until those passengers have been able to return to their loved ones.”
Black Ball Ferry Line is following suit after the Victoria Clipper ferry service announced it would be suspending its operations until at least April 30 and laid off 80 staff members, and the temporary cancellation of the Washington State Ferries’ service between Sidney and Anacortes.
For the remaining scheduled sailings, Black Ball Ferry Line announced that “the ship will continue to operate with heightened cleaning protocols, adhering to the best practices outlined by health authorities.”
All sailings have also been limited to less than 500 people to allow space for social distancing, and customers are allowed to self-isolate in their vehicles on the car deck.
Concessions operations are now limited to take-out style service only.
As the situation evolves and as specific border policies are clarified, Black Ball Ferry Line updates will be posted to www.cohoferry.com/covid-19-updates.
On Thursday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that all non-essential travel between Canada and the U.S. will be prohibited by Saturday, March 21st.
Travellers will no longer be allowed to cross the border for recreational or tourist purposes in a collaborative effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Essential border crossings and trade movements will not be impeded.
Based on the latest updates, there are 231 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 16 on Vancouver Island.
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.
On Tuesday, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Today, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.
International flights will now be restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
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.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 230,030.
Nearly 9,400 people have died from the illness and 86,256 have made a full recovery.