VICTORIA -- Floatplane companies on Vancouver Island are starting to close their doors due to health and safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Gulf Island Seaplanes, from Gabriola Island, and Atleo River Air Service, based in Tofino, announced Wednesday that they will be suspending operations for the time being.

“We are doing our part to minimize the curve,” said Gulf Island Seaplanes owner and operator, Sean Evans.

“Yes, it will definitely be a financial strain but in the end we feel it is the right thing to do.”

Gulf Island Seaplanes normally schedules flights between Gabriola Island, several Gulf Islands, Vancouver International Airport and performs charter flights. However, the company’s seaplanes will not be disembarking in the near future.

“We [are] committed to reassessing consistently to find a time to return to normal operations as soon as possible,” said Evans and his wife, Alison, in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Atleo River Air Service, which performs emergency flights to remote villages, site-seeing and adventure tours and charter flights is suspending operations while working on how to continue performing essential services.

“We are in discussions on how we will provide emergency flights (medivacs), in the future,” said the company in a Facebook post.