B.C. Ferries is adding trips on the Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route to carry essential goods, as well as passengers, to and from Vancouver Island.
As of May 15, the weekday schedule will include an 11 a.m. sailing from Swartz Bay and a 9 a.m. departure from Tsawwassen.
Starting May 24, the Sunday schedule will include a 3 p.m. departure from Tsawwassen and a 5 p.m. sailing from Swartz Bay.
These sailings will maintain the 50 per cent passenger capacity reduction as required by Transport Canada protocols to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and will be in effect until at least June 30.
“We are closely monitoring the traffic across the fleet and are making adjustments to ensure essential goods and services are moving with minimal delay,” B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall said Thursday.
An additional round trip is scheduled on the Saturday of the long weekend. On May 16, there will be a 7 a.m. departure from Swartz Bay and a 9 a.m. departure from Tsawwassen.
However, B.C. Ferries is encouraging people to travel only if necessary.
“The premier made it quite clear that the upcoming long weekend [May 15-18] is not a time for leisure travel,” Marshall said. “We remind our customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time.”
All food and retail outlets, including vending machines, are closed on board. Passengers are permitted to remain in their vehicles during the sailing.
Marshall said the corporation is working with the province on plans to ramp up service “when the time is appropriate.”