COVID-19: BC Ferries Implements Transport Canada’s Face Coverings Requirement Today

Effective today, passengers travelling with BC Ferries will be required to be in possession of a face covering that covers their mouth and nose, and asked to wear this covering in situations when a physical separation of two metres cannot be maintained. This Transport Canada directive applies to all passengers over the age of two, including those passengers travelling in a vehicle. On sailings longer than 30 minutes, passengers will be asked to confirm they have a face covering and are willing to wear it when necessary. If a passenger answers ‘no’, or fails to answer, they will be unable to travel. For routes under 30 minutes, BC Ferries requests customers possess a face covering to wear if they cannot maintain appropriate physical distancing. On all routes, BC Ferries requests customers remain in their vehicle for the entire sailing if possible. Customers must also bring their own face coverings as BC Ferries will not be supplying them to travellers. As defined by the…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Implements Requirement for Passenger Face Coverings

In keeping with directives and guidance provided by Transport Canada, passengers travelling with BC Ferries will be required to be in possession of a face covering that covers their mouth and nose, and asked to wear this covering in situations when a physical separation of two metres cannot be maintained. This directive goes into effect on June 15 for routes longer than 30 minutes and applies to all passengers over the age of two, including those passengers travelling in a vehicle. Passengers will be asked to confirm they have a face covering and are willing to wear it when necessary. If a passenger answers ‘no’, or fails to answer, they will be unable to travel. Customers must bring their own face coverings as BC Ferries will not be supplying them to travellers. As defined by the Public Health Agency of Canada, a face covering should fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops, be made of at least two layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen) …
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COVID-19: BC Ferries To Resume Long Harbour Ferry Service

Service to return to seasonal service levels to respond to growing demand - In collaboration with the Province, BC Ferries is increasing service on routes to the Southern Gulf Islands as of June 9, 2020 to match capacity with demand and better meet the needs of customers. This includes the re-opening of the Long Harbour terminal on Salt Spring Island. Demand on the Southern Gulf Island routes continues to grow. Effective June 9, 2020, the Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Salt Spring Island (Long Harbour) service will resume and the Victoria (Swartz Bay) – Southern Gulf Islands route will return to winter seasonal service levels. The routes will revert to the sailing times customers are used to seeing and are expected to alleviate the current demand pressures. Bookings for the Tsawwassen – Long Harbour route June 9 onwards are now open. Existing bookings made by customers on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route between June 9 and June 23 will be cancelled and the reservati…
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Breaking: Canadian Forces Snowbird Jet Crashes Near Kamloops On Way to West Coast Fly Over - One Team Member Dies, 2nd with Serious Injuries

One Canadian Forces Snowbird jet that was to fly over Salt Spring Island this weekend in honour of honour Cpt. Kevin Hage, whose has family that live on the island, crashed enroute in Kamloops. UPDATED March 17th - 08:00 PM: One member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) was killed on Sunday May 17, 2020 and one other member injured in an accident involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CT-114 Tutor aircraft in the vicinity of Kamloops, British Columbia. Killed was Captain Jennifer Casey, the team’s Public Affairs Officer, originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Captain Richard MacDougall, one of the team’s coordinators and pilot of the aircraft, was injured and is being treated for his injuries. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were deployed on Operation INSPIRATION, a cross-Canada tour to lift the spirits of Canadians and salute front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the accident, the CF Snowbirds were taking off from the airport in Kamloop…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island asks Potential Visitors to Stay Home, Stay Safe

Avoid visiting over the May long weekend - “Now is not the time to visit. We welcome you to come in the future when you can experience all that Salt Spring has to offer, but now is not that time.”  With the May long weekend looming, that’s the message from Salt Spring Island’s businesses, farms, and essential services. BC Ferries is reminding people to continue to avoid non-essential travel, and has extended the reduced ferry service to Salt Spring Island and other southern Gulf Islands. “I know the feeling of wanting a getaway -- we all do -- but that’s not what essential travel is,” says Laura Patrick, chair of the COVID-19 Farm and Business Response & Recovery Task Force, and Salt Spring Island trustee for the Islands Trust. “What’s essential right now is stopping the spread of COVID-19 in British Columbia, and maintaining Salt Spring’s limited supplies and services for locals,” Almost everything Salt Spring Island residents need comes via ferries. “There are ho…
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COVID-19: Trust Council Reminds People to Avoid Non-essential Travel to the Islands

In a region known for its welcoming farm stands, markets, and art studios, elected leaders are once again reminding people to avoid non-essential travel to the Gulf and Howe Sound islands and to minimize community interactions. As the Province starts to reopen gradually, the Islands Trust Council reminds visitors to stay close to home, and continue physical distancing and other measures a little bit longer. Trust Council suggests islanders continue to limit community interactions and refrain from extending invitations to visitors. "As we head into the May long weekend, we need people to remember our pleas that they avoid non-essential travel to the Gulf and Howe Sound islands and minimize community interactions as directed by the BC Centre for Disease Control,” emphasized Peter Luckham, Chair of the Islands Trust Council. “On most islands, our medical resources are non-existent or limited. In most cases, it is volunteers who offer first response, and we don't want to p…
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COVID-19: Harbour Air To Resume Salt Spring Flights with a Reduced Schedule

Daily flights begin operating between Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Sechelt and Salt Spring Island Over the past 38 years, Harbour Air has become a vital transportation link for coastal British Columbia. During the last few weeks, we have also seen the impact our service reductions have had on the communities we support. We know that “returning to operations” is not a “return to normal.” As we look towards the future, we are working hard to ensure that we are providing the safe, essential travel services you’ve come to expect from Harbour Air. The safety of our employees, their families and our communities is of the utmost importance to us. Please rest assured, we have adopted stringent safety measures that exceed both Transport Canada and Health Canada’s recommendations. We have introduced vigilant cleaning and physical distancing protocols, suspended scheduled flights and reduced our operations across the Province. Although we will continue to monitor the demand for …
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ASK Salt Spring Answers from Emcon and the Chamber of Commerce

Emcon Managers, Andrew Gaetz and Lisa Herschmiller What effect has this pandemic had on your operations? We have had to adjust in a variety of ways including: additional sanitization measures, staggering shifts, minimizing access to our shops and offices, adjusting work practices to meet social distancing guidelines, numerous training exercises and education on personal hygiene, and an increased number of pick ups in our larger yards to facilitate social distancing. We worried when a few staff caught colds and had to follow the protocol for a 14-day quarantine, but we are very proud to report that we are still running a 24/7 operation, and our staff is healthy and working. Despite the good health of our crew, some of these emergency measures have delayed our responses, so we appreciate your patience in these challenging times. When do you think that our roads will be swept and ready for lines to be painted? We now have a sweeper on Salt Spring…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Transit System Changes to Match Service Demand

BC Transit and the Capital Regional District are informing customers of an upcoming seasonal service change on Salt Spring Island on Saturday, May 2, 2020. BC Transit works hard to match service with demand, the seasonal service change includes: Adding limited service on route 2 Fulford Harbour along Cusheon Lake Road on Saturdays Seasonal changes to routes 2 Fulford Harbour, 3 Vesuvius and 4 Long Harbour This service change also take into account having sufficient service to allow for physical distancing while traveling on public transit in BC Transit communities due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The response to COVID-19 is a fluid situation that businesses, governments, and people are adjusting to across the country and around the world. BC Transit will continue to monitor available resources and provide service updates on a day-to-day basis. We thank our customers for their patience, and apologize for the inconvenience. Our team is here for you if yo…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Adjusts Southern Gulf Islands Routes Effective April 10th, 2020

BC Ferries is adjusting the schedule on the Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Southern Gulf Islands and Victoria (Swartz Bay) – Southern Gulf Islands routes effective April 10.

The simplified schedule supports the movement of essential goods to the islands and provides options for inter-island travel. We are currently working on updating the online schedules and they will be available shortly. In the meantime, the new schedule is available here.

In addition, service between Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island and Tsawwassen will be suspended during which time the Island will continue to be served by its other two routes, Swartz Bay – Fulford Harbour and Crofton – Vesuvius. ThruFare service will be available to customers needing an essential travel option to or from the Mainland.

These changes are in effect for 60 days and will be re-evaluated on a month…

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COVID-19: Salt Spring Island Launches “Stay Home Stay Safe” Campaign

Visitors asked to avoid visiting over the long weekend - “If you love Salt Spring, please refrain from visiting our island now.”  With a sunny long holiday weekend looming, that’s the message from Salt Spring Island’s businesses, farms and essential services. The COVID-19 crisis means that Salt Spring essential services providers are concerned about the potential of a disruption in supply of essentials to our community with all goods arriving by limited ferry service to grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential service providers. The vast majority of the island’s other businesses are closed, and floatplanes have also temporarily cancelled regularly scheduled flights. BC Ferries has begun screening passengers for COVID-19 – refusing to all allow anyone who fails the screening process from boarding. Ferry service to Salt Spring has also been reduced, and the public has been requested to limit their ferry use to essential travel only. Provincial parks and other island …
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ASK Salt Spring: Emcon Managers Answer The Most Asked Questions About Our Roads

Salt Springers have lots of questions about our roads. While the vast majority of the questions were about sweeping and line painting, the other more specific questions also gained the attention of Emcon, our roads maintenance contractors. With our questions in hand, Emcon and Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) managers recently toured Salt Spring. While some answers emerged, others raised a number of new questions. Stay tuned. . . ASK Salt Spring volunteers will continue to seek answers to those unanswered questions. 1) As debris-free roads make our narrow, winding roads far safer for cyclists, when are our roads going to be swept and how often? MoTI requires Salt Spring’s most-traveled roads (class one and two) be swept this spring before May 15. Also in compliance with MoTI’s mandate, the rest of Salt Spring’s roads will be swept this spring before June 15. To get more frequent sweeping of our roads, MoTI would have to authorize it. The unask…
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COVID-19: Vinyl Panels on Light Duty Salt Spring Island Buses - No Fare Collection - April 6th, 2020 - 12:05 PM

BC Transit is continuing to provide transportation services customers can rely on as we recognize people still need to get to work, including at healthcare facilities, or other activities such as weekly grocery shopping trips. BC Transit places the safety of our riders, staff, and communities as our top priority. The Province of BC and the Provincial Health Officer continue to lead the response to COVID-19, and BC Transit is taking their advice to identify and implement new measures to enhance safety throughout the BC Transit system. We want to assure you we are taking the Coronavirus COVID-19 situation seriously, and we are implementing plans based on advice from health experts. We have already implemented enhanced measures in response to COVID-19 including: Enhanced cleaning on buses and at BC Transit facilities Communication to staff and customers about physical distancing procedures Rear door loading (as available) Not collecting fares Limiting passen…
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COVID-19: Salt Spring Ferry Schedule Adjustment Coming Soon - April 3rd, 2020 - 7:06 PM

BC Ferries is adjusting the schedule on the Metro Vancouver (Tsawwassen) – Southern Gulf Islands and Victoria (Swartz Bay) – Southern Gulf Islands routes soon. Traffic across all of our routes is down approximately 80% because of COVID-19, and BC Ferries is adjusting service levels across multiple routes. The Coastal Ferry Services Contract with the Province of British Columbia has been amended to permit these service reductions. The Tsawwassen to Southern Gulf Island services will be combined with the Swartz Bay to Southern Gulf Islands services to one ship service using a Salish class vessel based out of Swartz Bay transiting to Tsawwassen, and a second ship serving the Southern Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay. Service to Long Harbour will be suspended and Salt Spring Island will be served by its two other routes, Swartz Bay – Fulford Harbour and Crofton – Vesuvius. Details are currently being finalized and will be announced soon. The adjustments in service levels across…
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COVID-19: Harbour Air Temporarily Suspends Flights - March 27th, 2020 - 9:02 AM

Harbour Air will temporarily suspend regularly scheduled flights beginning Sat, March 28. - As the COVID-19 epidemic continues to spread throughout the Province and with safety as our top value at Harbour Air, we have decided that it is in the best interest of our employees and our customers to cease all Harbour Air scheduled service flight operations. Our current plan is to start flying again May 4th, 2020. We understand the impact that this decision has on the communities we service, and because we don’t want to leave anyone stranded, as we are deemed an essential service in the province, we will continue to offer charter services which will include private flights, freight and government support services as required. For the safety of our flight crew and private flight passengers, these flights will be completed utilizing our larger DeHavilland Otter aircraft, which will allow for on board distancing. We will continue to follow the stringent cleaning and sanitation proto…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Continues to Operate In Service to Communities Along Coastal BC - March 24th, 2020 - 5:27 PM

BC Ferries continues to provide ferry services to connect communities and deliver essential goods to urban centres and more isolated areas such as the Gulf Islands and smaller towns in the northern part of the province. In line with directions provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada and other leading health authorities, BC Ferries is advising customers to avoid non-essential travel at this time. To date, BC Ferries has not been instructed to restrict travel. BC Ferries continues to carry all types of traffic. “None of us should be travelling if it is not essential,” said Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We want our customers that need to travel to know that we have taken steps to keep ferry travel as safe as possible. We are asking our customers to adhere to safe practices for their own safety and for the safety of BC Ferries employees.” Enhanced health and safety measures include additional cleaning and disinfecting, allowing and recommending passe…
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COVID-19: Harbour Authority of Salt Spring Island - March 23rd, 2020 - 5:19 PM

Information Bulletin regarding changes to the management of the government docks Harbour Authority of Saltspring Island (HASSI) due to COVID-19. The Harbour office, showers and washrooms have been closed to the public for over a week and remains so until further notice. Staff are working on site, please respect public distancing and limit contact to phone and email. In emergency call 911, the Harbour Master at 250 537-7530. For non urgent issues, call office at 250 537-5711 or email at Harbour@HASSI.ca. Docks: essential or emergency only, specifically: Kanaka dock will not re-open to transient visitor moorage at this time. Monthly moorage contracts will be extended. Breakwater dock will be open to essential and emergency vessels only (this includes outer islanders getting supplies). We are in ongoing discussion with the floatplanes. Centennial dock is open to existing monthly contract customers only. Temporary dinghy moorage at Centennial is being relocated t…
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COVID-19: Seair Temporary Suspension of Scheduled Flight Service - March 20th, 2020 - 5:00 PM

The health and safety of our passengers and team members has always been our first priority. After careful consideration, we have made the extremely difficult decision to Temporarily Suspend all Daily Scheduled Flights, effective Sunday March 22, 2020 until Thursday April 30, 2020 and at that time we anticipate resuming daily scheduled flights on Friday May 01, 2020. Our business will remain open and operational for Seaplane Charter Flights only at this time. In this time of uncertainty, we have been following suggested recommendations from the Government and Public Health Agencies for the safety of our passengers and team members. Our scheduled service has remained operational until this time so that we could offer passengers faster means of transportation to get home safely. However, based on recent developments we have concluded that now is the right time to suspend our scheduled flight service. We will be contacting those passengers that have bookings with us between …
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COVID-19: BC Ferries Suspends Food, Retail and Baggage Services - March 19, 2020 - 6:10 PM

In continued support of social distancing, BC Ferries is suspending all food services onboard our ships and at our terminals effective March 19, 2020 starting at approximately 3:00 pm until further notice, with the exception of our northern routes, which will suspend food services effective March 20, 2020. During the COVID-19 situation, customers have changed their food purchasing habits and are choosing not to buy our grab-and-go items at this time, leading to tremendous food waste. Vending machines are still available. Onboard amenities including Passages Gift Shop, SeaWest Lounge, Kids Zone play area and Video Zone arcade remain closed until further notice. To reduce the spread of infectious disease including COVID-19, baggage service is currently unavailable on our major routes. Our Northern vessels will continue to offer baggage service until further notice. BC Ferries apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause. We will continue to monitor the sit…
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COVID-19: BC Ferries to Allow Passengers on Closed Car Decks Temporarily - March 17th, 2020 - 11:15 AM

Starting today, BC Ferries will allow customers to remain in their vehicles on the enclosed car deck during the COVID-19 situation, to help support social distancing and self-isolation. Editorial Note: Read all official, current and ongoing updates on COVID-19 specifically related to Salt Spring Island on the Salt Spring Exchange under our News > 'Special Alert: COVID-19' News section.
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COVID-19: Adventures in Emergency Preparedness and Lessons from Recent Travel in Rome

Hello Salt Spring. This is an open letter to my local emergency preparedness POD that I would like share with our entire community. Dear Pod, Mark and I are in day four of home-isolation after arriving from Italy. “In research published Monday online in the academic medical journal Annals of Internal Medicine, scientists calculated that the median incubation period of the virus is 5.1 days. All told, about 97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days of exposure, the scientists said.”* So far so good. As we flew out of Rome on two wings and a litany of prayers, Bryan and Brian filled our fridge with a week of supplies. Nestled between the veggies and coffee cream were two days of delicious, nutritious homemade food. They also dropped our car off in Fulford Harbour so we wouldn’t potentially risk contaminating anyone by picking us up. You gents are the best. Others also helped us stock up; all of us doing our bit to ‘flatten the curve’. You are all…
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