VICTORIA -- The Victoria Clipper ferry service has announced that it is suspending operations until April 30, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company, which sails between Victoria and Seattle, WA, says that the ongoing pandemic and border restrictions between Canada and the United States makes restarting operations impossible for the remainder of 2020.

While the ferry service says that it “wholeheartedly” agrees with all health measures put in place by both Canada and the U.S., it notes that summers are an essential travel season for the company.

The Clipper says that its Canadian union employees will continue to be temporarily laid off until operations restart in April.

Canadian employees will then be brought back to work as the ferry service resumes, based off of agreements made between the company and the Unifor Local 114 union.

Meanwhile, employees in Seattle are currently furloughed, save for a small crew of staff that are focusing on essential operations.

“We wholeheartedly agree with the steps and health precautions taken by Canadian and U.S. government officials to date to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission through non-essential travel,” said David Gudgel, CEO of Clipper in a release Friday.

“Our intent in suspending operations is to hopefully allow ample time to pass so that we may return to service next spring when travel across the border is safe and welcomed once again.”

The Victoria Clipper first stopped sailings in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, approximately 80 employees from both sides of the border were laid off as a result of the shutdown.