Before Easter weekend, the message from provincial leaders was clear: travel only when absolutely essential.
Otherwise, stay at home.
But this has not been the case so far on the long Easter weekend.
Recreational vehicles, camper vans and many other signs of non-essential travel have climbed aboard at various ferry terminals. And those who went on vacation said it wouldn’t matter.
“We got a two acre property there that was isolated from everyone,” said a man who was about to board a ferry to Vancouver Island.
“We probably won’t see another person the whole weekend,” added another man.
The comments come as dozens of cars line up at the ferry terminals on Friday.
READ MORE: BC Ferries Sees Long Weekend Rise, Small Communities Worried
During his regular coronavirus updates, provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry said on Saturday that recent media reports on packaged ferries were exaggerated.
“I did speak to BC Ferries about whether some of the possibly exaggerated people are there and they confirmed that they were seeing only a fraction of the traffic they would normally have this weekend,” said she said.
When asked if there was a need to strengthen enforcement or foreclosure in British Columbia, Henry replied that she did not think so.
“I don’t think there is a need to [increased] applying or locking out or any of these types of measures, “she said.
BC Ferries is currently operating at 50% of its capacity; the measures that have been taken to meet the declining demand and to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As a result, there has been a significant drop in the number of passengers compared to last year’s Easter weekend, according to BC Ferries and the province. Passenger numbers on foot fell 84% while vehicle traffic decreased 76% last Friday compared to the previous year, the province told CHEK News in an email release.
“We urge people to listen to Dr. Henry and to avoid non-essential travel. BC Ferries is currently operating at reduced capacity and is following new temporary regulations from Transport Canada, “said the province in a statement to CHEK News.
But for smaller places like Galiano Island, fewer travelers offer no relief.
“We have a very limited medical response here. We have a part-time doctor and once a nurse practitioner we don’t have a ventilator, “said Jane Wolverton, a resident of Galiano Island.
British Columbia reported an overall total of 1,445 cases of COVID-19.