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BC Ferries busy as province marks first weekend of eased travel restrictions

Last Updated Jun 18, 2021 at 6:27 am PDT

FILE - A B.C. Ferry is seen arriving at Horseshoe Bay near West Vancouver on March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Many British Columbians are eager to get out of town for the weekend, with ferries seeing demand Friday

This is the first weekend since COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted in B.C.

BC Ferries is reminding customers to make reservations or travel during off-peak times

HORSESHOE BAY (NEWS 1130) – Vehicles were already lining up at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal before the gates even opened early Friday morning, with many eager to get out of town for the weekend.

Plenty of people are hitting the road — or water — with this weekend marking the first in a long time that recreational travel is allowed within B.C.

This comes after bookings soared this weekend, after the province entered the second step of its restart plan on Tuesday.

A number of people were trying to get a jumpstart on their getaways, with the BC Ferries website crashing on Monday, just after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced restrictions on non-essential travel were being lifted.

Sailings for Thursday booked up quickly, with ferries leaving in the early afternoon already hitting capacity before noon.

“As everyone knows, the travel restrictions have now been lifted, so we are seeing some increased volumes,” Deborah Marshall, executive director, BC Ferries, said Thursday.

For Friday, the first sailings were mostly full before 6 a.m. As many look to take advantage of a sunny weekend, and also spend some time away for Father’s Day on Sunday, you’re being urged to check the sailing schedule ahead of time and make a reservation if possible.

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Travel during off-peak times is also recommended for those who haven’t booked a spot.

With restrictions that had limited most non-essential travel between health zones now lifted, BC ferries says sailings are being added back to the schedule to meet demand.

Masks are optional in outdoor spaces at terminals, but they are still required indoors and on board ferries in all spaces.

Marshall has also said that BC Ferries will be running a full summer schedule this year.

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-With files from John Ackermann