The Salish Eagle sails towards Powell River from Comox in the summer of 2019 (John McKinley file)

Editorial: Time to reinstate below-decks as above board in BC Ferries

Ban on people staying on the car deck defies logic in a time of COVID-19

British Columbia residents are stepping up their efforts in the fight against COVID-19, doing all that they can to stop the spread of the virus.

That is until they board a BC Ferry.

As COVID cases spike across the province and around the globe, ferry passengers are still being forced from the safe confines of their vehicles and into the congested corridors of ferries.

Transport Canada reintroduced the ban on passengers in enclosed car decks on Sept. 30, after relaxing the ban on March 17 at the onset of the pandemic.

RELATED: Vancouver Island MP and Minister Garneau exchange letters on BC Ferries safety regulations

RELATED: Wearing masks will be mandatory on B.C. Ferries vessels and at terminals

The pandemic hasn’t gone away, in fact cases have spiked in recent weeks, yet the federal government seems to have little interest in preventing its spread on the journey across Georgia Strait.

Premier John Horgan expressed his frustration when the ban was reintroduced, and said steps would be taken to convince Transport Canada to reconsider. One month later, it’s becoming clear that ship has sailed.

The ban was first introduced in October 2017, ostensibly in response to the 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North. Two passengers went missing and have never been found, however, there has never been any indications that the passengers were trapped on the lower vehicle deck.

And while there is no record of anyone being killed as a result of being trapped on the lower deck of a BC Ferry, more than 250 British Columbians have died from COVID-19 in just the past several months. And your chances of contracting that deadly virus are greatly increased in crowded surroundings, with or without a mask.

Health officials and political leaders at both the provincial and federal level must step up efforts to pressure Transport Canada to rescind a ban that goes against common sense.

While protecting ferry passengers against a risk that can only be described as infintesimal .

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Just Posted

Ultra runner Jerry Hughes circles the track at the Cowichan Sportsplex as he nears the end of his six-day Canadian record attempt and fundraiser in November. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Ultramarathon a few miles short, but many dollars beyond its goal

Six-day run misses record bid, but Help Fill A Dream fundraiser a big success

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. Dr. Henry frequently reminds people that there are those people who cannot wear a mask for legitimate reasons and they don’t have to. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island woman reminds community that not everyone can wear a mask

People enforcing mask rules frequently ignore that possibility

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: City dismantling Wesley Street homeless encampment after fire

Fire broke out at about 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos ran the length of Vancouver Island, with the help of their van Pippi, raising more than $12,000 for 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre. (Photo submitted)
Greater Victoria pair finishes running length of Vancouver Island a day early

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos raised more than $12,000 for single parents

An electronic sign at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction notifies travellers heading towards Sutton Pass that closure windows are in effect Thursday morning. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Survey swirls up confusion around Tofino-Ucluelet highway closures

“The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Project closure times remain the same for now,” ministry says

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

The notice at Port Hardy Secondary School’s athletic track. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
North Island school tracks closed to the public during school hours

To keep P.E. classes safe, the restriction went into effect Nov. 30

Some older Canadian currency will have its legal status removed at the start of the new year. (Pixabay.com)
Bank of Canada puts the boots to old bills

$1 and $2, $25 to $500 and $1,000 lose cash value Jan. 1, 2021

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

Most Read