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BC Ferries passengers now required to get out of their cars on enclosed decks

Last Updated Sep 30, 2020 at 8:59 am PDT

FILE - A ferry leaves the BC Ferries terminal in Tsawwassen. (Riley Phillips, NEWS 1130 Photo)

You can no longer remain in your vehicle during a ferry sailing if you're parked on an enclosed deck

BC Ferries says passengers can stay in their cars if they're on an upper or open car deck

Transport Canada is reimposing rules requiring customers to get out of their vehicles during ferry sailings

TSAWWASSEN (NEWS 1130) – You can no longer stay in your vehicle on enclosed car decks while travelling on a ferry.

The federal regulation requiring passengers to be out of their cars during a voyage was lifted during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow people to more easily physically distance during sailings.

However, Transport Canada has re-imposed the restriction as of Wednesday, meaning customers are no longer allowed to sail while inside their vehicles if they’re parked on an enclosed deck.

BC Ferries says customers are welcome to remain in their vehicles if they are parked on upper or open car decks.

“Enclosed car decks are spaces that represent inherent risk to the travelling public,” a BC Ferries release from earlier this month reads. “During the pandemic these risks were mitigated with additional safety procedures and patrols. However, Transport Canada has now advised BC Ferries that measures have been developed and implemented to prevent the spread of the disease in all transportation modes and businesses across Canada.”

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Measures include increased cleaning, sanitization, and physical distancing protocols, as well as a mandatory mask policy.

Passengers are required to have and wear a face covering or non-medical mask while on board a ferry, except while they are in their vehicle or if they are eating or drinking.

People with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a face covering and children under the age of two are exempt from the mask policy.