The Victoria Clipper has stopped all sailings between Seattle and Victoria until May 20.
Due to the rapidly changing nature of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, Clipper announced March 17 that all sailings, effective immediately, will be cancelled until April 30. This is despite receiving support and encouragement to continue service with sanitation and social distancing measures, according to a company statement.
The company updated March 19 that it would suspend service until May 20.
“Our number one priority and concern as a business is the health and safety of our employees, staff, crew, passengers and the greater public,” said Clipper CEO David Gudgel in the statement. “We want to do our part in helping curb the public spread of coronavirus and feel it is imperative to halt immediate vessel operations. We will assess our return to service based on both U.S. and Canadian government and health official regulations and guidance.”
In accordance with the collective agreement between Clipper Navigation, Inc. and Unifor Local 114, Clipper’s Canadian union employees will be placed on temporary layoff starting March 24, the statement says.
“This is an unprecedented event for Clipper, our region of operations and the world at large,” Gudgel said. “The loyalty and commitment of our Victoria employees is incredible and our hope and full intention is to bring every one of these employees back to work and restart vessel operations as quickly as possible.”
As of Tuesday, B.C. has four deaths and more than 100 cases of COVID-19. Gatherings of 50 or more people have been banned and health officials are telling people to stay in Canada.
–With files from Katya Slepian