British Columbia

BC Ferries to screen passengers for COVID-19 symptoms

BC Ferries says in response to new federal measures, it will begin screening passengers for COVID-19 symptoms on routes longer than 30 minutes by presenting them with a series of questions.

Passengers with COVID-19 symptoms will be refused travel on BC Ferries for 14 days

BC Ferries vessel Queen of Cowichan was built in 1976 and carries up to 312 family cars. (BC Ferries)

BC Ferries says all customers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms on any routes longer than 30 minutes through a series of questions. Anyone who shows signs of flu-like illness or fails to answer will not be allowed to board a ship.

In addition, the ferry corporation said anyone under a public health order such as someone who has recently returned from international travel will not be allowed to take a ferry.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said under new guidelines brought in by Transport Canada on Sunday to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, additional safety measures were being put in place effective April 6 for the province's inland ferry system.

The safety measures include signage at terminals and overhead messaging via DriveBC, social media and websites.

Questions to passengers include:

  • Do you have a fever and a cough?
  • Do you have a fever and breathing difficulty?
  • Have you been refused boarding in the past 14 days due to a medical reason related to COVID-19?
  • Are you the subject of a provincial/territorial or local public health order?

Boarding will be denied to anyone who says yes to any of these questions.

BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said the corporation is in the process of posting more signs.

"So customers will see those questions as they approach the ticket booths and then the ticket agents will confirm if the customer has read the questions, do they understand them, and do they answer yes to any of those questions."

Marshall said this safety measure is in addition to others including physical distancing, limiting capacity aboard ferries, and allowing passengers on enclosed car decks during crossings and enhanced cleaning.

As the long weekend approaches, she reminded customers to avoid non-essential travel.

"A lot of the smaller communities are asking people not to visit over the Easter weekend or any other weekend. A lot of businesses are closed. Hotels are closed. This is really not a time for leisurely travel. Stay at home this long weekend and make it up some other time."




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