Under the order issued Monday, B.C. restaurants must cease all indoor service until April 19, as the province grapples with a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases.
The BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union says an exemption to that order for ferry food services puts its members at risk.
“It’s a betrayal,” union provincial second vice-president Carl Campbell said.
“It frustrates me that while the company I work for has been given an exception to continue food service work, our ferry workers haven’t been given special consideration for vaccines.”
Campbell argued that ferry workers provide an essential service, and that if the risk is real for staff in other dining establishments, it also exists for his members.
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The union is calling on BC Ferries to either stop foodservice or to arrange vaccination for staff.
In a statement, BC Ferries said its cafeterias would continue to operate with limited seating to ensure customers are physically distanced.
“We are continuing to work with the Province to explore vaccination options for all BC Ferries’ employees,” it added.
Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said it was important to continue to offer food service on B.C. ferries, noting that some northern routes include sailings in excess of four hours.
Fleming said takeout was not a possibility on ferries as it is in regular restaurants, and that physical distancing and safety protocols would remain in place to reduce any risk.