A petition asking to restrict access to Vancouver Island using BC Ferries has received thousands of signatures. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Petition asking to restrict travel to Vancouver Island garners thousands of signatures

Nearly 30,000 people have signed the petition as of Sunday afternoon

A petition asking that access to Vancouver Island is limited to essential services, supplies and residents only during the COVID-19 pandemic has garnered thousands of signatures.

“Vancouver Island residents are worried about their safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re still seeing tourists from other provinces and the U.S. driving on our roads here,” the online petition says. “We need to be proactive and protect our residents.”

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 28,000 people signed the petition and the number was still increasing on the website. The petition calls for BC Ferries to limit travel to essential services and “implement restricted access for residents who are trying to return home to their families.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

“This needs to work both ways,” the petition says. “Residents from Vancouver Island shouldn’t be travelling to the mainland if it’s not essential.”

Before the Easter long weekend, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued warnings that people should not make travel and gathering plans for the weekend.

New measures from Transport Canada came into effect on April 6 for screening all passengers for COVID-19 symptoms on ferry sailings longer than 30 minutes. The new rules also state that operators of vessels carrying more than 12 passengers must reduce sailings by 50 per cent of the maximum number of passengers to help with physical distancing as well.

READ ALSO: ‘Full ferries’ only half-full, BC Ferries clarifies

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Ferries also reduced sailings for 60 days beginning on April 10. The company announced reduced sailings for the Southern Gulf Islands.

Since the pandemic began, ferry traffic has been down by about 40 per cent according to BC Ferries chief executive Mark Collins. On March 25, the corporation asked people to avoid non-essential ferry trips.

During a Saturday news conference, Henry said she was in contact with BC Ferries about long weekend travellers. She said the corporation confirmed “they are only seeing a fraction of the traffic that they would normally on this weekend.”

-With files from Tom Fletcher and Wolf Depner

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCFerriesCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wear a mask to protect others, says Vanderhoof’s top doctor

“I think wearing a mask is a small inconvenience when weighed against the possibility of giving vulnerable members of our community an infection that could kill them,” the doctor said.

Here is what school will look like for FLESS students

Students are going back to school on June 1 on a voluntary, part-time basis.

7 projects in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Burns Lake receive NKDF funding

Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society announced $139,702 in funding on May 29.

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible.

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

Most Read