BC Ferries will require customers to wear non-medical masks or face coverings while on board all vessels effective Aug. 24.
In a release, the company states that passengers will be required to wear face masks or coverings in all terminals and on board all vessels.
“While COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on our business, I want to express my deep appreciation to our frontline staff who came to work every day in the depths of the pandemic to provide lifeline service to coastal communities,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “I also want to thank our customers for their patience as we all work toward a new normal.”
The company has also released its first quarter results, noting that at the outset of the pandemic, ferry traffic dropped dramatically and was down 75 to 80 per cent across the system in a matter of days. With the Province’s recent easing of travel restrictions, traffic at the end of June partially recovered and was down approximately 35 per cent compared to this period last year.
Revenue for the quarter ended June 30, 2020, at $137.4 million, which was down $109 million year-over-year. This impact to earnings was partially offset by reductions in operating expenses of $36.7 million compared to the same quarter of the prior year.
During the three months ended June 30, 2020, BC Ferries delivered 18,249.5 round trips, a decrease of 2,340 or 11.4 per cent compared to the same period in the prior year. The company carried 2.2 million passengers and 1.3 million vehicles during the quarter, a decrease of 61.5 per cent and 46.7 per cent, respectively, compared to the same quarter in the prior year.
On Aug. 11, the Province announced BC Ferries is one of the entities included in the federal government’s previously announced transit funding of $540 million in response to the impact of COVID-19. This transit funding is to be matched equally by the Province for a total funding envelope of $1.08 billion.
BC Ferries says, "it will continue to provide resilient ferry service in the public interest. BC Ferries will aid B.C. in its economic and social recovery through the vital role it plays in serving the needs of coastal communities."