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Coronavirus: BC Ferries reduces Vancouver-Victoria service, closes buffets

Click to play video 'Langford Mayor wants BC Ferries passengers to be allowed to remain in their vehicles' Langford Mayor wants BC Ferries passengers to be allowed to remain in their vehicles
A Vancouver Island mayor has slammed Transport Canada regulations surrounding BC Ferries passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulations state those parked on the lower decks cannot remain in their vehicles. But many say that just makes them more susceptible to infections. Brad MacLeod reports.

BC Ferries says it is reducing service between Vancouver and Victoria and shuttering on-board food buffets due to concerns over coronavirus.

The company said Saturday it was cancelling multiple sailings throughout Sunday and one round-trip sailing Monday between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay “in order to meet current traffic demands.”

Four round-trip sailings on Sunday have been cancelled between noon and 6 p.m., while Monday’s cancelled sailings were set to leave Swartz Bay at noon and leave Tsawwassen at 2 p.m.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: BC Ferries says passengers still can’t stay in cars on closed decks

Customers with reservations on cancelled sailings will be advised by email and will be accommodated on a later sailing, with refunds available. Those without reservations will be put on standby.

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Full details can be found here.

 

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BC Ferries says it is also shutting down the Pacific Buffet available on the Spirit of Vancouver Island, the Spirit of British Columbia and the Coastal Celebration until further notice “to mitigate the spread of illness, including COVID-19.”

The company has already made adjustments to curb the spread of the virus, including extra cleaning of common areas and “locations that are touched frequently by people throughout the day.”

READ MORE: 9 new coronavirus cases announced in B.C., majority at North Vancouver care home

However, passengers are still not allowed to stay in their vehicles if they are parked on an enclosed bottom deck, citing Transport Canada regulations.

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The federal agency is not waiving the restriction during the pandemic for “safety reasons,” BC Ferries told Global News on Friday, but added arrangements can be made if drivers are showing symptoms.

Drivers can stay in their vehicles if they are on an open car deck on an upper level.

—With files from Gord Macdonald