BC Ferries denied a “handful” of customers travel over the weekend following the implementation of the new provincial ban on non-essential travel between regions. (Black Press Media File)

BC Ferries denied a “handful” of customers travel over the weekend following the implementation of the new provincial ban on non-essential travel between regions. (Black Press Media File)

Traffic down, issues few as BC Ferries enjoys smooth weekend under new restrictions

BC Ferries denied a ‘handful’ of customers travel over the weekend with no serious pushback

A spokesperson for BC Ferries described the first weekend subject to new COVID-19 travel restrictions as smooth and without an incidents.

Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries’ executive director, public affairs, marketing and customer experience, said staff denied a “handful of customers” travel on the six routes that cross the regional zones as per the provincial order. Marshall later said the actual number ranged from four to seven.

“There was no need to call authorities,” she said. “It was more a matter of a few people not being fully aware of the order.”

The ban effective since Friday until May 25 divides the province into three major travel regions based on the five provincial health regions and prohibits non-essential travel between them.

The trio consists of Vancouver Island (Vancouver Island Health), Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health) and Northern-Interior (Northern Health and Interior Health, including Bella Coola Valley, the Central Coast and Hope).

The provincial government said the goal of the order is educational. If the restrictions need to be enforced, people not obeying may be subject to a $575 fine from police. Departments may set up periodic road checks at key travel corridors during times linked with leisure travel to remind travellers of the order.

The order sees BC Ferries ask travellers if their passage is essential and non-essential travellers will be asked not to board vessels headed to a different region.

BC Ferries will also suspend adding extra sailings during weekends, holidays and peak travel periods and notify all travellers with reservations that the travel order is in place and allow cancellations free of charge.

Marshall said traffic across the fleet continues to drop.

RELATED: B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

On the Tsawwassen-to-Swartz Bay route, passenger numbers dropped 34 per cent while vehicle numbers dropped 24 per cent over the weekend compared to last weekend. “Compared to 2019, we were down 82 per cent in passengers and 65 per cent in vehicles,” she said.

On the Horseshoe Bay-to-Departure Bay route, passenger numbers dropped 42 per cent while vehicle numbers dropped 37 per cent this weekend compared to last weekend. “Compared to 2019, we were down 77 per cent in passengers and 64 per cent in vehicles,” she said.

On the Tsawwassen-to-Duke Point route, passenger numbers dropped 17 per cent while vehicle numbers dropped seven per cent this weekend compared to last weekend. “Keep in mind, a lot of commercial traffic (essential travel) usually uses this route,” she said. “Compared to 2019, we were down 74 per cent in passengers and 60 per cent in vehicles.”

While Marshall said she lacked specific numbers, many customers have been contacting BC Ferries to cancel their bookings. “Our traffic is down significantly, which means British Columbians are heeding the order and advise to avoid non-essential travel at this time,” she said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

bc ferryCoronavirus

Just Posted

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Jane Long-Haggerty, a chartered accountant with a member of the Salvation Army Food Bank, hold up a cheque for $740. Long-Haggerty decided to cut her fees in half and ask her clients to donate whatever they felt they could to the food bank. The idea landed her a room full of food and $740 to the Salvation Army Food Bank. (Submitted)
Penticton accounting firm gives big return to food bank

Long-Haggerty said this year’s tax season showed how bad the pandemic has impacted everyone

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

The manager and a worker at the Penticton Great Canadian Oil Exchange in front of the new sea-can. (Submitted)
Kelowna and Penticton oil recycling facilities get upgrades

The BC Used Oil Management Association provided grant funding for the upgrades

The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)
The SS Sicamous was decked out in poppies on Remembrance Day and lights at Christmas time. The Sicamous won’t be able to open again because of COVID restrictions. (Monique Tamminga - File photo)
Penticton’s historic paddlewheeler likely won’t open for a second year

The SS Sicamous Society is getting lots of restoration work done during the closure

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The Maritime Kitchen Party is featured in the B-Side, the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre’s online series, May 13-16. (VDPAC photo)
B-Side keeps Okanagan musicians in Focus

Performing Arts Centre online concerts continue

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

The. B.C. Court of Appeal granted a retrial to former Vernon man William Schneider, convicted of second-degree murder in the 2016 death of Japanese exchange student Natsumi Kogawa. The trial is set to begin May 24, 2022. (Vancouver Police Department photo)
Retrial date set for former Okanagan man’s murder conviction

William Schneider’s trial, connected to the death of Natsumi Kogawa, is set for May 2022

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read