With Canada's ban on cruise ships set to end on Feb. 28, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra has extended the suspension by one year, announcing a one-year ban on pleasure craft and cruise vessels.
"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," Alghabra said on Thursday (Feb. 4). "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."
Minister Alghabra announced two new Interim Orders, which prohibit pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022.
- 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.
"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," the government said.
"To limit the spread of COVID-19, the Government of Canada continues to advise Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all travel on cruise ships outside Canada until further notice."
"Cruise vessels in Canadian waters pose a risk to our health care systems," the government added. "The Government of Canada will continue 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.
Those who do not comply with the pleasure craft prohibition could be subject to penalties: $5,000 per day for individuals and $25,000 per day for groups or corporations.
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