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

Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Park to partially reopen June 1

The Meadows in the Sky Parkway is expected to open

New Revelstoke staycation contest worth $1K launched

It’s to stoke locals for exploring their own backyard

Revelstoke sushi event fundraises almost $10K for local hospital

Kawakuba Japanese Restaurant raised almost $10,000 for Queen Victoria Hospital. The fundraiser… Continue reading

Revelstoke man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

Province seeks feedback on proposed all-season recreation resort near New Denver

Mountain lodge, chairlifts, hiking and biking trails all part of massive resort

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

100 miles in 24 hours: a B.C. man’s mission to support the less fortunate

Merrit’s Darius Sam felt a responsibility to help his community after encounter with a starving woman

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

Most Read