B.C. cracks down on non-essential travel aboard BC Ferries

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in British Columbia, BC Ferries is set to tighten its rules around non-essential travel.

On Monday, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced that BC Ferries would no longer be accepting bookings for recreational vehicles (RVs) and camper vans beginning Friday.

"BC Ferries will also be contacting their passengers that have booked reservations to make sure their travel is essential and is not leisure travel," said Horgan.

The update comes as B.C. announces a range of new health orders, including restrictions on travel within the province.

Beginning Friday, British Columbians will be required to stay within their local health authority. Horgan says that police will conduct random roadside audits to ensure people are not travelling outside of their health authority for non-essential travel.

Signs will also be installed along the B.C.-Alberta border instructing travellers not to visit B.C. unless they are coming for essential reasons.

The province says that people can be fined if they are found to be travelling outside of their health authority for recreational purposes.

Meanwhile, Horgan says that tourism operators are being instructed not to accept customers who are visiting from outside of their health authority.

The health restrictions are slated to remain in place until midnight on May 25, the end of the Victoria Day long weekend.

Horgan says that more details on the health orders will be announced Friday, including the extent of the fines for breaching the restrictions.

The premier added that the province will work with British Columbians to provide refunds for things like campsite reservations, if people reserved provincial campgrounds outside their local health authorities before the new restrictions were announced.

Meanwhile, the province's "circuit breaker" health order, which was put into effect on March 30, has been extended until May 25 as well.

The health order includes restrictions on indoor dining, indoor group fitness programs and the complete closure of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort. 

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