BC Ferries says all passengers are now allowed to stay in their vehicles during sailings in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Spokesperson Deborah Marshall said on Tuesday that Transport Canada has temporarily relaxed safety regulations that ban passengers from staying in vehicles parked on enclosed bottom decks while the ferry is in motion, in an effort to promote social distancing and self-isolation.
Globalnews.ca coverage of the coronavirus outbreak in B.C.
BC Ferries said it will increase patrols on the enclosed car decks to ensure safety in the event of an emergency, and that the rules will go back into effect “once the COVID-19 situation ends.”
Last week, Premier John Horgan said he raised the issue of lower-deck access with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who assured him that he would discuss it with Transport Canada.
“In this instance, we want to see social distancing, and if we have to direct people to leave their vehicles to congregate in smaller spaces for an hour and a half, that’s not good public health policy,” Horgan had told reporters.
BC Ferries said crews have been taking extra measures to clean “common areas and locations that are touched frequently by people throughout the day.”
— With files from Global News’ Simon Little and Gord Macdonald