Canada is extending its ban on pleasure craft and cruise vessels in Canadian waters through to Feb. 28, 2022.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra announced the details of two, new interim orders that prohibit pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until the end of February next year.
The new orders mean that:
- Adventure-seeking pleasure craft are still prohibited from entering Arctic waters.
- Passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are still prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast.
- Cruise vessels carrying 100 or more people are still prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.
Pleasure craft used by local Arctic residents will not be affected by these measures.
With these prohibitions in place, public health authorities will be able to continue focusing on the most pressing issues, including the vaccine rollout and new COVID-19 variants.
Minister Alghabra said that: “As Canadians continue to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our government continues to work hard to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe.”
He continued: “Temporary prohibitions to cruise vessels and pleasure craft are essential to continue to protect the most vulnerable among our communities and avoid overwhelming our health care systems. This is the right and responsible thing to do.”
And to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian government continues to advise Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice.
Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should continue to follow local public health guidance and protocols, and follow mitigation measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks.
These could include: reducing the number of passengers, ensuring physical distancing, the wearing of masks, and enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures.
Cruise vessels in Canadian waters pose a risk to our health care systems.
The Canadian government continues to evaluate the situation and make changes as necessary to ensure the health and safety of all Canadians. Should the COVID-19 pandemic sufficiently improve to allow the resumption of these activities, the Minister of Transport has the ability to rescind the Interim Orders.