Cruise ships of any size will not be coming to Victoria until July 1.
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) announced Friday evening that all cruise vessels will not dock at the Victoria Cruise Terminal and their Inner Harbour facilities. This came following a decision from Transport Canada to suspend the cruise season across the country until July 1 for vessels capable of holding more than 500 passengers and crew amid concerns over COVID-19.
According to the GVHA statement, the decision to cancel all cruises is based on guidance from the Provincial Health Office requiring the public to avoid gatherings of 250 people or more and the request for people who have visited the United States to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“As a not-for-profit community organization with board members representing various partners, this decision is also based on the need to put the health and safety of Victorians first,” the GVHA statement says.
The decision will be communicated to cruise partners and terminal operators over the next few days.
The Transport Canada restriction will apply to ports in the north for the whole season, because the risk from COVID-19 is greater in more remote communities. Transport Minister Marc Garneau said the government is also planning to restrict the airports that can accept international flights, so people arriving on them can be more closely screened.
Canada’s busiest port of call is in Victoria. This year anticipated 300 ship calls and more than 800,000 passengers.
-With files from Nicole Crescenzi and The Canadian Press