(BC Ferries)

Most afternoon and evening sailings to Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands reached maximum capacity on Thursday even as BC Ferries continues their policy of limiting the number of passengers allowed to board at 50 per cent.

On Thursday, the 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. sailings from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay were at 100 per cent or nearly full capacity.

Similar numbers of passengers were booked for the Tsawwassen to Duke Point (Nanaimo) route on Thursday.

See also: BC Ferries reminds passengers to avoid non-essential travel ahead of Victoria Day long weekend

BC Ferries have limited the service to Southern Gulf Islands – Metro Vancouver routes on the Sunday and holiday Monday, which may be contributing to the large number of people travelling on other days.

The 7:15 p.m. sailings departing Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Islands on Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15, and the afternoon sailing returning from the Southern Gulf Islands to Tsawwassen on Monday, May 18 are fully booked and at passenger capacity, and no standby passengers will be accommodated, according to a statement from the company.

Provincial and federal health officials have repeatedly instructed people to refrain from non-essential travel this Victoria Day long weekend.

Those who do choose to visit relatives in other parts of the province or travel to second homes and summer cottages have been asked to bring their own food and supplies so as to minimize contact with other people and not drain the resources at stores in local communities.

While non-essential travel is still restricted, Health Minister Adrian Dix cautions against judging those who do travel this long weekend as many may be doing so for essential purposes.

All food and retail outlets, including vending machines, remain closed on board BC Ferries vessels until further notice.

Earlier this week, BC Ferries issued a reminder for all passengers to refrain from non-essential travel.