A petition asking to restrict access to Vancouver Island using BC Ferries has received thousands of signatures. (Black Press Media File Photo)

A petition asking to restrict access to Vancouver Island using BC Ferries has received thousands of signatures. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Petition asking to restrict travel to Vancouver Island garners thousands of signatures

Nearly 30,000 people have signed the petition as of Sunday afternoon

A petition asking that access to Vancouver Island is limited to essential services, supplies and residents only during the COVID-19 pandemic has garnered thousands of signatures.

“Vancouver Island residents are worried about their safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re still seeing tourists from other provinces and the U.S. driving on our roads here,” the online petition says. “We need to be proactive and protect our residents.”

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 28,000 people signed the petition and the number was still increasing on the website. The petition calls for BC Ferries to limit travel to essential services and “implement restricted access for residents who are trying to return home to their families.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

“This needs to work both ways,” the petition says. “Residents from Vancouver Island shouldn’t be travelling to the mainland if it’s not essential.”

Before the Easter long weekend, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued warnings that people should not make travel and gathering plans for the weekend.

New measures from Transport Canada came into effect on April 6 for screening all passengers for COVID-19 symptoms on ferry sailings longer than 30 minutes. The new rules also state that operators of vessels carrying more than 12 passengers must reduce sailings by 50 per cent of the maximum number of passengers to help with physical distancing as well.

READ ALSO: ‘Full ferries’ only half-full, BC Ferries clarifies

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Ferries also reduced sailings for 60 days beginning on April 10. The company announced reduced sailings for the Southern Gulf Islands.

Since the pandemic began, ferry traffic has been down by about 40 per cent according to BC Ferries chief executive Mark Collins. On March 25, the corporation asked people to avoid non-essential ferry trips.

During a Saturday news conference, Henry said she was in contact with BC Ferries about long weekend travellers. She said the corporation confirmed “they are only seeing a fraction of the traffic that they would normally on this weekend.”

-With files from Tom Fletcher and Wolf Depner

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCFerriesCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

The West Shore Community Response Network (CRN) is urging awareness around National Fraud Prevention Month, so residents can especially help protect older and vulnerable adults against fraud. (Photo by Joshua Hoehne/Upsplash)
March dialed in as National Fraud Prevention Month

West Shore Community Response Network urges citizens to protect seniors against phone, email scams

Students from SD62 stepped up to help members in the community with the annual 10,000 Tonight food drive. This year’s organizers had to adapt during the campaign as COIVD-19 public health orders changed. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore students step up to make sure community members don’t go without

Students of SD62 are this year’s recipient of the Youth Volunteer Award

A cat died in this house fire in Sidney afternoon. The fire started on the house’s deck and spread from that point. Sidney Volunteer Fire Department Chief Brett Mikkelsen said the permanent presence of crews at the Community Safety Building prevented worse damage. (Photo courtesy of Clayton Firth)
Sidney house fire kills cat, causes extensive damage

Official says fire started on deck and damage to the house could have been worse

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read