Canada delays cruise ship season due to COVID-19

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      While Canada’s prime minister remains in isolation due to the coronavirus, the federal government unveiled a pandemic response fund while also announcing measures that will impact cruise ships in Canada.

      Today (March 13), Canada’s Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced new restrictions upon the arrival of cruise ships in Canada.

      The federal government is postponing the start of the cruise ship season in Canada from April 2 to July 1. This delay applies to cruise ships with more than 500 individuals aboard, including crew members and passengers.

      The government stated that due to limited public health capacities in northern communities in Canada, all Canadian Arctic stops for cruise ships of all sizes will be cancelled for the entire season this year.

      The exceptions to this measure are ferries or smaller vessels, and the federal government is working to ensure all passenger vessels in Canada have stronger health measures in place.

      On March 9, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam had advised all Canadians to avoid travel by cruise ship.

      On the same day, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated at a news conference that she was in discussions with various levels of government about her recommendation to delay the cruise ship season in the province.

      On March 12, Dr. Henry has also advised all British Columbians to avoid travel outside of Canada, including to and from the United States. All travellers arriving in B.C. from any destination are now being asked to self-isolate for 14 days, including not attending work or school.

      A final decision about whether or not the cruise ship season in Canada will be permitted to proceed on July 1 will be made at a later date based on scientific evidence.

      According to the federal government, over 140 cruise ships arrived in Canada from more than 10 different countries in 2019 and the cruise industry brings over two million travellers to the nation each year.

      Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also announced today (March 13) that the federal government will provide a $1 billion COVID-19 response fund to address plans, infrastructure, and resources in response to the pandemic.

      Trudeau became the first world leader to be put in self-isolation due to the virus after his wife, Sophie Grégorie Trudeau was diagnosed with the coronavirus on March 12.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook