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BC Ferries: 'Self-isolating' on board doesn't mean you can stay in your parked car

Transport Canada has the final say on this
Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal. Delta Optimist file photo

If you’re planning on travelling via BC Ferries, take note that you can’t stay in your vehicle on the enclosed vehicle decks while the ferry is travelling, despite the recommendation by health officials to keep your social distance during the coronavirus situation.

Here’s a letter from BC Ferries president and CEO Mark Collins:

With the World Health Organization now declaring coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a global pandemic, I am reaching out to share some information that may be helpful as you consider your travel plans with BC Ferries.

We understand that you may be concerned about the spread of COVID-19. We are, too. BC Ferries is committed to the health and safety of our customers and employees. When we learned of the outbreak, we took proactive measures to mitigate the spread of illness on our ferries and at our terminals.

Crews have been taking, and will continue to take, extra measures to clean and disinfect all touch points.

Touch point cleaning focusses on common areas and locations that are touched frequently by people through-out the day.

They include hard surfaces such as tables, handrails, payment pin pads, door handles, and elevator buttons.

We have also stepped up our cleaning protocols in all washroom facilities.BC Ferries regularly monitors information from the BC Centre for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada. At this time, the risk associated with the spread of COVID-19 in British Columbia and Canada is still considered low.

We trust and follow instructions from Canada’s highest health officials and continue to monitor the situation closely.

Right now, the best advice from health authorities to prevent the spread of illness is to follow some simple tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve and not your hand
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others. This has long been our approach to a healthy workplace and passenger environment, and is now more important than ever.

A number of customers have asked if it is possible to self-isolate while on board our ferries, specifically on enclosed vehicle decks. We have been in contact with Transport Canada to raise this issue. Passengers situated on an open vehicle deck can remain in their vehicles however, for safety reasons, Transport Canada regulations do not permit passengers to remain in their vehicles on an enclosed vehicle deck.

On larger vessels that have both an upper and lower vehicle deck, customers are able to remain in their vehicles on the upper vehicle deck only.

At BC Ferries, safety is our highest value – we are committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for our customers and employees.

As this situation is rapidly evolving, please keep an eye on our website. Should there be any changes to our service, we will let you, our valued customer, know and post the latest information at

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you on board soon. Until next time, stay safe and be well.

Mark Collins

BC Ferries President & CEO

On Friday, March 13, B.C. Premier John Horgan said he had asked PM Justin Trudeau to have this regulation temporarily suspended. Trudeau indicated he would speak with Transport Canada, but so far no changes have been made. Read more HERE.

With additional reporting from VIA and Coast Reporter

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