Black Ball Ferry Lines has suspended service between March 30 and April 30. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Black Ball Ferry Lines has suspended service between March 30 and April 30. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Black Ball Ferry suspends service beginning March 30

Ferry operating as scheduled until March 30 so travellers can go back to Canada or U.S.

The Black Ball Ferry Line will suspend service at the end of the month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an announcement made March 18, the ferry line said service will be suspended between March 30 and April 30. Prior to that period, the company 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.

All non-essential travel is suspended, in accordance with announcements from Canadian and U.S. federal governments.

The last sailing of the MV COHO from Port Angeles will depart at 2 p.m. on March 29 with the last sailing from Victoria departing on the same day at 4 p.m.

READ ALSO: Victoria Clipper stops sailings through April 30

“These are unprecedented times, and we take our role as an essential service provider seriously,” said Black Ball Ferry Line president Ryan Burles. “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 will also cancel all ferry, hotel, attraction and other leisure travel bookings between March 30 and April 30. All cancellations will be automatically processed and fully refunded to the customer’s credit card without the need to contact the company.

In the announcement, the company said the ship will continue to operate with heightened cleaning protocols, adhering to the best practices outlined by health authorities. Surfaces in both Black Ball Ferry Line terminals and on board are regularly sanitized before, during and after each sailing.

READ ALSO: International ferry service to Sidney pushed back to late April

All sailings have been limited to fewer than 500 people, allowing space for social distancing, and customers are also allowed to self-isolate in their vehicles on the car deck. Concessions operations are limited to take-out style service only. The statement says all travelers arriving in Canada are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

“For decades the MV COHO has been a long-standing link between two countries,” Burles said. “Our customers are like family to us, and we want everyone to take care, be safe and stay healthy.”

Updates will be posted to the company website at as the situation evolves and border policies are clarified.

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