Recreational boaters and operators of non-motorized watercraft in British Columbia are being asked to avoid unnecessary travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Canadian Armed Forces, Canada Border Services Agency, Canadian Coast Guard, Indigenous Services Canada, Parks Canada Agency, RCMP, and other federal partners, Destination BC, Emergency Management BC, and the United States Coast Guard all say they are working together this spring to ensure all mariners on the water stay safe and are observing COVID-19 protocols laid out by the BC Provincial Health Officer and Government of Canada.
Those who do go out on the water are asked to continue to observe public health guidelines and proceed with common sense and good judgement over the long weekend and the entire boating season.
A temporary restriction on all non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border is in place until May 21, 2020.
Recreational boaters travelling across international borders for non-essential purposes, including tourism, will be turned around, officials say.
And boaters entering Canada for essential purposes must isolate for 14 days if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or, if not exempted, quarantine themselves for 14 days if they do not have symptoms.
Recreational boaters are also reminded that they should not to visit small communities on the British Columbia coast.
“Many communities, particularly First Nations communities, remain closed to visitors to protect themselves from the spread of COVID-19. If boaters must travel, they should be prepared to be self-sufficient as they may not have access to fuel, supplies and other services on their trip,” the groups said in a joint statement.
“If boaters have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or are feeling sick, please don’t get on a boat. In a marine emergency, boaters should let emergency responders know if they have any flu-like symptoms when they call for assistance.
We are all in this together: for boaters, this means observing federal and provincial health guidelines around cleaning, social distancing and practicing good hygiene; as well as being prepared by carrying all mandatory safety equipment, wearing a personal flotation device, leaving a trip plan with someone on shore, and avoid taking unnecessary risks on the water.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday Canada is not yet prepared to confront the challenges inherent in reopening the shared border with the United States, stopping short of confirming that a ban on non-essential travel will be extended to June 21.
The federal government has asked to extend the current ban and a favourable response is expected from Washington Canada is not yet prepared to confront the challenges inherent in reopening the shared border with the United States, Canada is not yet prepared to confront the challenges inherent in reopening the shared border with the United States, to talk about them publicly, told The Canadian Press. News of the request was first reported by the Globe and Mail.
“Right now, we’re making decisions for right now,” Trudeau said when asked about the possibility of keeping the border closed even after June 21, regardless of the wishes of the U.S., which is dealing with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world.
“Obviously, there are reflections on what next steps could be and might be in different situations and different progressions of COVID-19, but every step of the way in this unprecedented situation, we’re reacting to and responding to the realities we see now, and that’s where we will stay focused.”
One of those realities is also the starkest: more than a million active cases in the U.S. – 42 per cent of the world’s active caseload – and a death toll that was closing in on 83,000 people Wednesday, growing at a rate of more than 1,000 fatalities a day.
With files from James McCarten, The Canadian Press