BC Ferries to start screening passengers for COVID-19

Click to play video: 'New rules for BC Ferries passengers due to coronavirus'
New rules for BC Ferries passengers due to coronavirus
A series of stringent new Transport Canada rules are now in effect for BC Ferries passengers. Those rules are designed to protect passengers and crew, and ensure the vital service can continue to run, despite the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Richard Zussman reports – Apr 6, 2020

Starting as soon as possible B.C. Ferries will start screening all passengers for COVID-19 symptoms before allowing them on one of its vessels.

Passengers with a fever and cough, travellers who have been denied boarding in the last 14 days, and those subject to public health orders will be denied access to board.

“What we will now be introducing is screening of passengers for voyages longer than 30 minutes that will include a series of questions,” BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said.

“If they have a fever and a cough they would be denied travel.”

Click to play video: 'BC Ferries slashes major routes, lays off hundreds of workers amid COVID-19'
BC Ferries slashes major routes, lays off hundreds of workers amid COVID-19

On Sunday Transport Canada announced new measures to regulate commercial passenger vessels and ferries it an attempt to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

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The federal order bans the use of B.C. Ferries for non-essential activities such as tourism or recreation. The measures will remain in place until at least June 30.

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BC Ferries are legally required to reduce by 50 per cent the maximum number of passengers that may be carried on board to support the two-metre physical distancing rule.

BC Ferries had already substantially reduced the number of daily trips taking place on all routes.

“The safety and security of the travelling public and Canada’s transportation network are my top priorities,” Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said.

“These new measures will help reduce the spread of COVID-19, while continuing to support the continued movement of goods through the supply chain, and ensuring Canadians can access their homes, jobs, and essential services in a safe manner.”

Enforcement action for failing to abide by these new measures could include penalties of up to $5,000 per day for an individual and $25,000 per day for a vessel or corporation and/or up to 18 months’ imprisonment.

BC Ferries has also been required to make additional changes to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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All inland ferry passengers travelling by vehicle must remain in their vehicles for the duration of the trip and all passenger amenities aboard the ferry are closed until further notice.

Walk-on passengers, cyclists and motorcyclists must remain inside designated zones while in the terminal and while aboard the ferry.

Walk-on passengers, cyclists and motorcyclists with symptoms of COVID-19 are not permitted aboard the inland ferries.

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