Langford mayor calls for ferry, bus blockade; closure of schools
Langford Mayor Stew Young says the province needs to take a cue from Ontario and Quebec by shutting down all schools, including colleges and universities. (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- A Greater Victoria mayor is calling for the immediate closure of all schools and the stoppage of all bus tours and U.S. ferry traffic into B.C. amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Langford Mayor Stew Young says the province needs to take a cue from Ontario and Quebec by shutting down all schools, including colleges and universities.
In a statement provided by the city, Young says all U.S. ferries to Vancouver Island – the Coho ferry, the Victoria Clipper and all Washington state ferries – must be barred from B.C. shores immediately.
Young says the federal announcement on Friday banning all cruise ships with over 500 people on board "was a start," but more needs to be done to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 among travellers.
"B.C. Ferries must confine people to their cars and have cleaners cleaning all high-touch parts of the ferries constantly," Young adds.
"The 'don’t stay on bottom deck' rule should be abandoned. We have a serious world threat and it’s safer for everyone to stay in their cars than mingle on a deck or eating in a cafeteria."
Young adds that "it would be prudent to stop bus tours as well" to contain the virus.
"The above steps, as drastic and difficult as they may be, are only way to slow down the spread of the virus and not overwhelm our health care system," Young says.
In a statement Friday, Transport Canada said that BC Ferries is not permitted to allow passengers to stay inside of their cars in enclosed vehicle decks for personal safety reasons.
"The regulations currently in place have been implemented for the safety of all those aboard ferries," said Transport Canada. "Amending these regulations would compromise, not increase the safety of those on board."
"We encourage ferry operators and passengers to engage in proactive hygiene habits such as frequent handwashing, covering their coughs and practicing social distancing, in order to minimize the risk of contagion."
Meanwhile, ferry passengers on open vehicle decks are still allowed to remain inside of their cars.