BC Ferries is experiencing heavy traffic with long weekend travellers heading back to the Lower Mainland. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

EDITORIAL: Vehicle deck ban places BC Ferry passengers’ health at risk

What do you think? Email editor@vicnews.com

British Columbia residents are stepping up their efforts in the fight against COVID-19, doing all that they can to stop the spread of the virus. That is until they board a BC Ferry.

As COVID cases spike across the province and around the globe, ferry passengers are still being forced from the safe confines of their vehicles and into the congested corridors of ferries.

Transport Canada reintroduced the ban on passengers in enclosed car decks on Sept. 30, after relaxing the ban on March 17 at the onset of the pandemic. The pandemic hasn’t gone away, in fact cases have spiked in recent weeks, yet the federal government seems to have little interest in preventing its spread.

Premier John Horgan expressed his frustration when the ban was reintroduced, and said steps would be taken to convince Transport Canada to reconsider. One month later, it’s becoming clear that ship has sailed.

ALSO READ: Horgan frustrated as Transport Canada mandate for BC Ferry riders returns

The ban was first introduced in October 2017, ostensibly in response to the 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North. Two passengers went missing and have never been found, however, there has never been any indication that the passengers were trapped on the lower vehicle deck.

And while there is no record of anyone being killed as a result of being trapped on the lower deck of a BC Ferry, more than 250 British Columbians have died from COVID-19 in the past several months. And latest information shows your chances of contracting that deadly virus are greatly increased in crowded surroundings, with or without a mask.

Health officials and political leaders at both the provincial and federal level must step up efforts to pressure Transport Canada to rescind a ban that goes against the most basic principles of social distancing.

While protecting ferry passengers against a risk that can only be described as infinitesimal, Transport Canada is turning a blind eye to a pandemic that has claimed over a million lives worldwide.

The Island has so far avoided much of the devastation this virus has inflicted on other parts of the world, but time is not on our side.

Editorials

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

Just Posted

The Great Adventure is the Braefoot Community Association’s answer to COVID fatigue, a nine-day photography scavenger hunt around Saanich and beyond, for teams of up to six people in each other’s bubble. (Unsplash)
Cameras, safe six mix for photographic scavenger hunt around Saanich

Braefoot Community Association invites public to have some outdoor fun with fundraiser

B.C. is conducting an emergency alert test on Nov. 25 at 1:55 p.m. (Black Press Media File photo)
Expect B.C.-wide emergency alert system test Wednesday afternoon

The message will be broadcast at 1:55 p.m. on Nov. 25.

The Grinch was spotted on a tractor in Metchosin Monday morning, an early welcome for the holiday season. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
PHOTO: Grinch arrives early for the holidays in Metchosin

Send your favourite Christmas decorations to Black Press Media

file
Oak Bay resident bilked $3,300 in puppy scam

Three cases of fraud reported in two days

Sidney’s Star Cinema has temporarily closed as part of efforts to COVID-19. (Black Press Media File).
Sidney’s Star Cinema temporarily goes dark

Closure reflects provincial health order in effect until Dec. 7

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Most Read