Coho ferry to suspend operations beginning on March 30
A rainbow frames the MV Coho ferry at its Port Angeles terminal in this undated file photo.
VANCOUVER -- Another direct ferry link between British Columbia's capital city and the United States has decided to suspend its operations amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The Coho ferry, which connects Victoria to Port Angeles, Wash., will suspend its service from March 30 to April 30 as government and businesses around North America attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Black Ball Ferry Line, which operates the Coho, announced the change on its website Wednesday, saying that it was continuing operations only because it is an essential service for some.
"Prior to the 30th, we will continue to operate under the current schedule to allow for the return of United States and Canadian citizens back to both countries as well as commercial cargo service," the company said. "In accordance with the announcements from both federal governments, all non-essential travel is suspended."
The Coho will depart from Port Angeles for its last sailing to Victoria on Sunday, March 29, at 2 p.m. It will make its final return voyage at 4 p.m. the same day.
"These are unprecedented times, and we take our role as an essential service provider seriously," the company said. "Whether it’s a Canadian returning from their winter home or an American in a similar situation, we are remaining open until those passengers have been able to return to their loved ones."
The company said it will cancel all bookings between March 30 and April 30, automatically processing the cancellations and fully refunding customers' credit cards.
The decision to suspend operations comes just a day after officials with the company told CTV News Vancouver Island they had no plans to suspend sailings.
It also comes after a similar service - the Victoria Clipper ferry between Seattle and Victoria - announced it would be suspending its operations until at least April 30 and laid off 80 staff members.