Victoria Clipper, a ferry service that travels between Vancouver Island and Seattle, has extended its current suspension of operations until next year amid COVID-19.
In a press release issued on Friday, Victoria Clipper announced they will be pausing service until April 30, 2021.
The ferry company points to a variety of factors in the wake of the current global pandemic as being driving factors to shut down operations.
The Canadian-U.S. border remains closed to non-essential travel, and as cases soar south of the border, it isn’t readily clear when travel will resume between the two countries. Victoria Clipper also highlighted safety measures such as Canada’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine as being another reason that travel has ceased for the coming months.
With the loss of summer operations – a time of year critical for the company’s revenue generation – Victoria Clipper said it is unrealistic to be able to operate through the winter months of 2020-2021.
“We wholeheartedly agree with the steps and health precautions taken by Canadian and U.S. government officials to date to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission through non-essential travel,” said David Gudgel, CEO of Clipper.
“Our intent in suspending operations is to hopefully allow ample time to pass so that we may return to service next spring when travel across the border is safe and welcomed once again.”
In regards to Clipper’s Canadian employees, the company says that union members will remain on temporary layoff into the anticipated return date next April.
“Employees will be recalled in accordance with the provision of the Collective Agreement once Clipper’s ferry operations between Seattle and Victoria resume,” reads a statement from the transport organization.
Clipper adds that minimal staff will remain employed in order to “maintain business continuity.”
Victoria Clipper initially suspended its service on March 17 as the novel coronavirus spread in North America.