BC Ferries traffic drops as politicians urge people not to travel

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WatchFerry traffic is down as BC Ferries and politicians urge people to avoid non-essential travel.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, more and more groups are telling people to stay away.

The Islands Trust is asking people not to visit the Gulf Islands, BC Ferries says to avoid non-essential travel and the Regional District of Nanaimo is also urging folks to stay put.

The COVID-19 pandemic is already keeping people home and off of BC Ferries.

The corporation says traffic is down 50 per cent and Gulf Island’s politicians want to keep it that way.

“We are not very well prepared for the current crisis in terms of emergency medical services and goods and services available to our own islanders as well as visitors,” said Peter Luckham, chair of the Islands Trust board.

BC Ferries is also advising customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time but it’s not restricting traffic.

Passengers have mixed feelings about whether there should be a provincial directive limiting BC Ferries traffic.

“It’s a sound move. Maybe now is the time to lock it down and only have essential services take the ferry,” said Simon Amos, a BC Ferries customer.

“I don’t why they would do it. We stay away from each other and stay in the truck or car so why would they do that? I don’t think so,” said Mitch Gordic, another customer.

The Regional District of Nanaimo is the latest level of government to discourage traffic in its region. It’s board passed a motion Tuesday.

“Just general travel within the Regional District by anybody should be discouraged unless it’s necessary. The more we can encourage people to stay home and self-isolate and not go out unless they need to then the better,” said Ian Thorpe, the Board’s Chair.

Thorpe says it’s a crucial message to stop the spread of this disease.

Last week, BC Ferries regulators temporarily approved people staying in their vehicles during sailings if you must use a ferry.

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