BC Ferries says passengers can self-isolate in their cars but only in the open vehicle decks. (Black Press Media file photo)

COVID-19: BC Ferries passengers can self isolate on upper vehicle decks only

Transport Canada regulations prohibit people from staying in lower decks

Despite provincial direction to avoid large gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Ferries said Transport Canada limits self isolation on vehicle decks.

As the number of COVID-19 cases grows in the province, BC Ferries explored the option of allowing passengers to sit in their cars during sailings.

On its website, BC Ferries said it has been in contact with Transport Canada about passengers self-isolating in their vehicles, but federal regulations don’t allow passengers to stay in their cars on enclosed vehicle decks. On larger vessels with both upper and lower vehicle decks, customers can stay in their cars on the upper, open decks only.

The provincial ferry service says it’s taken “proactive measures to mitigate the spread of illness” on ferries and at terminals when it learned of the outbreak.

READ ALSO: Extra precautions against COVID-19 put in place as tourism season arrives

“Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to clean and disinfect all touch points,” BC Ferries says on its website. Touch points include tables, handrails, payment machines, door handles, and elevator buttons.

READ ALSO: Victoria’s Coho, Clipper see cancellations linked to COVID-19

With cruise ship season effectively cancelled across Canada, BC Ferries pointed to some key differences between travelling by ferry and travelling on a cruise ship. BC Ferry vessels carry between 150 to 2,100 passengers and crew members – a contrast to cruise ships that can carry up to 6,000 people.

“Our entire service area is within a ‘low risk’ region,” the service added. “We sail along coastal British Columbia and do not travel to any foreign ports.”

READ ALSO: Canada will ban cruise ships with over 500 people from docking until July

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