British Columbians appear to be abiding by the province’s travel ban if reservations on BC Ferries are any indication.
BC Ferries says traffic heading into May long weekend, historically one of its most popular sailing weekends is down anywhere from 60 to 80 per cent.
Traffic is especially down on the three major routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island amid the travel ban between health regions, spokesperson Tessa Humphries told CHEK News.
“We’re not subscribed for bookings. Traffic is significantly down,” she said.
As for turning away customers for non-essential travel between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, Humphries said there haven’t been any incidents where BC Ferries staff have had to call police on a belligerent customer.
“We’ve only had a handful of situations, and to be completely honest, they were always more of a situation where either the customer was not aware of the travel restrictions order, or they weren’t aware of the full details,” she said.
“Once our agents are able to explain the order that was in effect, they voluntarily turned around.”
While there has been concern over people finding ways to flout the restrictions during the long weekend, island destinations like Tofino say nothing has changed on their end.
“We’re asking everyone to stay local,” said Tofino Coun. Britt Chalmers. “For people to stay in Tofino, and people elsewhere to stay home, and we will welcome people back as soon as possible.”
Chalmers said on the Friday before the long weekend, it seems as though most people are abiding by those rules.
“It’s definitely quieter than it’s ever been at this time,” she said. “There is still travel, but not nearly as much.”
On Thursday, B.C. Premier John Horgan urged people to stay close to home during the long weekend, especially with sunny skies in the forecast.
“If you have a cottage within your health authority, that of course is OK by me. But we need to follow the rules until we come out of the circuit breaker, and on Tuesday, Minister Dix, Dr. Henry, and I will be laying out the plan forward,” said Horgan, referencing the province’s economic restart plan to be announced Tuesday.
Chalmers said the time to be able to visit the resort municipality will come soon enough.
“The messaging is please hold off a little bit longer, stay home, and come back as soon as we can open up again.”