Large cruise ships won’t be able to dock at any of Canada’s ports until at least the fall as the federal government extends its safety measure to limit the number of cases of the novel coronavirus in Canada.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced the extension during a news conference on Friday morning. In March, Ottawa had announced a ban on cruise ships carrying more than 500 passengers until July 1.
Now, cruise ships with overnight accommodations carrying more than 100 people will be prohibited from operating in Canadian waters until Oct. 31. All other passenger vessels will have to follow regional health authority rules when it comes to timelines, said Garneau.
Beginning July 1, passenger vessels will be allowed to operate in inland rivers and lakes in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon, but vessels with the capacity to carry more than 12 people continued to be banned from entering Arctic coastal waters until the end of October, said the minister.
Companies caught violating the new rules could be fined up to $25,000 per day and individuals would be on the hook for $5,000.
Transport Canada said ferries and water taxis should continue to operate using mitigation measures like reducing the number of passengers and keeping people in their vehicles.
A number of cruise ships were the site of COVID-19 outbreaks at the start of the crisis, promoting health officials, including Canada’s chief public health officer, to warn against taking trips.