A petition asking to restrict access to Vancouver Island using BC Ferries has received thousands of signatures. (Black Press Media File Photo)

A petition asking to restrict access to Vancouver Island using BC Ferries has received thousands of signatures. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Petition asking to restrict travel to Vancouver Island garners thousands of signatures

Nearly 30,000 people have signed the petition as of Sunday afternoon

A petition asking that access to Vancouver Island is limited to essential services, supplies and residents only during the COVID-19 pandemic has garnered thousands of signatures.

“Vancouver Island residents are worried about their safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re still seeing tourists from other provinces and the U.S. driving on our roads here,” the online petition says. “We need to be proactive and protect our residents.”

As of Sunday afternoon, more than 28,000 people signed the petition and the number was still increasing on the website. The petition calls for BC Ferries to limit travel to essential services and “implement restricted access for residents who are trying to return home to their families.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

“This needs to work both ways,” the petition says. “Residents from Vancouver Island shouldn’t be travelling to the mainland if it’s not essential.”

Before the Easter long weekend, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued warnings that people should not make travel and gathering plans for the weekend.

New measures from Transport Canada came into effect on April 6 for screening all passengers for COVID-19 symptoms on ferry sailings longer than 30 minutes. The new rules also state that operators of vessels carrying more than 12 passengers must reduce sailings by 50 per cent of the maximum number of passengers to help with physical distancing as well.

READ ALSO: ‘Full ferries’ only half-full, BC Ferries clarifies

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Ferries also reduced sailings for 60 days beginning on April 10. The company announced reduced sailings for the Southern Gulf Islands.

Since the pandemic began, ferry traffic has been down by about 40 per cent according to BC Ferries chief executive Mark Collins. On March 25, the corporation asked people to avoid non-essential ferry trips.

During a Saturday news conference, Henry said she was in contact with BC Ferries about long weekend travellers. She said the corporation confirmed “they are only seeing a fraction of the traffic that they would normally on this weekend.”

-With files from Tom Fletcher and Wolf Depner

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BCFerriesCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

The North Island College campus in Port Alberni is located on Roger Street. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College plans tourism networking event

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on Vancouver Island’s tourism industry

Members of Alberni Valley Rescue Squad were at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020 to practice helicopter hover exit training with Ascent Helicopters out of Parksville. When executing a search in difficult terrain, it isn’t always possible to land a helicopter, so volunteer searchers must be certified in hover exits. (BILL MCLEOD/ Special to the AV News)
Alberni Valley Rescue Society receives much-needed $40K gaming grant

Bamfield volunteer fire department also funded

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The current exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre features paintings from the Community Arts Council’s permanent collection. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
ARTS AROUND: Last chance to join Alberni Valley artist guide

The guide will include local artists and a map

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read