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Delta Police not manning BC Ferries checkpoint

BC Ferries staff will call Delta police for assistance with enforcement if a traveller is refusing to adhere to the order of essential travel only
delta bc highway covid travel  sign
Highly visible signs, including this one on Highway 99 in Delta, warn drivers in advance that non-essential travel is not permitted.

Delta police will not be manning a check point enforcing COVID-19 restrictions on non-essential travel at the Tsawwassen ferry terminal this holiday weekend.

That’s what police chief Neil Dubord told the Delta Police Board on Wednesday, noting staff at the B.C. Ferry Terminal will continue to be the ones who will deny entry for customers travelling for non-essential reasons on routes crossing regional health zones.

“The RCMP, being the provincial police force, have had greater responsibilities in relation to road blocks for people crossing between health authorities on the highways,” said Dubord. “Delta’s involvement was the ferry crossing between Victoria and Tsawwassen, and as a result, we’ve worked out an arrangement at this particular time where the ferry administrative staff are deterring people from going over unless they have qualified business. So, we have not had any calls to the ferries at this particular time and don’t expect any calls to the ferry. That’s worked out well as far as the provincial legislation.”

RCMP are now enforcing the travel restrictions on several B.C. highways.

Travellers at a checkpoint are asked for identification as well as addresses and reasons for travel.

If officers determine that the reasons provided are non-essential, they will direct drivers to turn around or face a fine.

RCMP plan to step up enforcement during this Victoria Day long weekend.

As far as the travel restrictions for the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, the orders impact the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay ferry route, as well as Tsawwassen to Duke Point and Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Islands.

BC Ferries said it will rely on other jurisdictional authorities for assistance with enforcement of the order.

BC Ferries is also not scheduling extra sailings for this long weekend.

Spokesperson Deborah Marshall told the Optimist ticket agents are relying on the “honour system” when asking travellers for reasons for travel as staff are not enforcement officers.

They haven’t had to call police due to irate travellers opposed to travel restrictions, while only a few who did not understand the order had to be turned away throughout the entire system, she said.

Police have had to be called to deal with those refusing to wear masks, Marshall said. As well, BC Ferries also added a check box to the online booking flow of its website to ensure customers read and acknowledge they are travelling for essential reasons when making a booking.

Since last November the ferry corporation has been advising customers to avoid non-essential travel.