Ferry docked at Departure Bay (Vista Radio staff photo)
The province is cracking down hard on travellers as COVID-19 cases continue to mount.
There will be an order under the Emergency Program Act not to leave your health area, and that includes leaving Vancouver Island, especially on the ferry.
Premier John Horgan says the province’s goal is to restrict people’s ability to leave their health authority.
“This will be conducted through random audits, not unlike roadside stops for counterattack during the Christmas season,” Horgan said. “They will be susceptible to all travellers, not just a few travellers, and they will be random and there will be a fine if you are travelling outside of your area without a legitimate reason.”
He added that there will be no additional authority given to police, “this will be a random audit, to ensure people are following the guidelines.”
Horgan added that the province has been working with the tourism industry to eliminate bookings from out-of-town travellers.
“If you live in the Fraser Health area, by all means take a few days, get outside, perhaps go to a campground in your local area, but do not try and book somewhere outside of your area because the tourism operator in that community will not book you passage,” Horgan said.
Meanwhile, at the end of this week, BC Ferries will stop accepting bookings for recreational vehicles like campers and trailers.
Horgan says BC Ferries will also be contacting passengers who have booked reservations, to make sure their travel is essential and is not leisure travel.
As well, BC Ferries will not be bringing on more sailings to meet the demand, like it has in the past.
Horgan says we have to take serious measures in order to get to the May long weekend and salvage our summer.
“We want to have a safe and fun summer but we will not do that if we lose sight of the objectives ahead of us,” he said.