VICTORIA -- A call from the provincial government to reduce non-essential travel in B.C. appears to be working.

Vehicle and walk-on passenger traffic on major routes fell by more than half on the weekend compared to the previous weekend, according to BC Ferries.

Walk-on ridership fell by 65 per cent, while vehicle traffic decreased by 50 per cent, BC Ferries said Monday.

"People are definitely getting the message to avoid non-essential travel, which we see as a positive," said ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall. "Everyone needs to do their part."

BC Ferries says it has seen significant drops in ridership throughout the pandemic, but the decline in this past week has been historic.

"At the beginning of the pandemic we did see about an 80 per cent drop-off in travel, but no, we've never seen numbers like these," said Marshall.

On Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry introduced the toughest restrictions since the onset of the pandemic, which included discouraging non-essential travel.

Henry asked British Columbians to refrain from any pleasure-related travel to neighbouring regions.