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Coronavirus: Updated Cruise Ship Policies and Cancellations Because of COVID-19 (2021)
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Vancouver Port
Vancouver Port

British Columbia Leader Doesn't Want Travelers Until Vaccine; Could Jeopardize 2021 Alaska Cruises

Vancouver Port
Vancouver Port

November 18, 2020

Aaron Saunders
Senior Editor, News and Features

(4:30 p.m. EST) -- In a move that could have sweeping consequences for the 2021 Alaska cruise season, British Columbia Premier John Horgan came out swinging against the travel industry, essentially stating that he didn't want visitors in the province until a vaccine is ready. Restrictions on non-essential travel to and from the Province were called for at

a news conference

Wednesday morning. In his talks, Horgan lobbied the Canadian government to end any non-essential interprovincial travel and mused about introducing 14-day quarantine measures for all non-citizens.Perhaps most concerningly for the Alaska 2021 cruise season, Horgan stated his desire to see all non-essential travel to British Columbia, even domestically, limited until after a vaccine has been distributed. “People of Quebec and Ontario and Manitoba need to know that they need to stay in Quebec and Ontario and Manitoba until we get to a place where we can start distributing a vaccine across the country” said Horgan. “This is not the time to go storm watching on Vancouver Island."Horgan said the surprise measures would be in effect for the next two weeks but hinted these orders -- which he said aren't about "people wagging their finger at you" and "aren't a penalty" -- would continue to be in place to keep British Columbians safe. "That's going to be our objective right through the winter and into the spring," said Horgan. The 2021 Alaska cruise season in British Columbia typically begins in April. While Horgan seemed to walk back the severity of some of his comments -- he initially called for Ottawa to introduce a blanket ban of non-essential travel across Canada -- it signals a growing movement within British Columbia to not accept any form of non-essential tourism, even those within its own provincial borders.It isn't the first time the province has indicated it is willing to go without tourism in the long run.The Premier, along with British Columbia's top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and Health Minister Adrian Dix, had stated their reluctance to allow cruise ships stopping anywhere in British Columbia when the COVID-19 pandemic began back in March.Days later, Transport Canada introduced its ban on cruise within Canadian waters -- an initiative that remains in place through February 28, 2021.Currently, the Canadian border remains shut to U.S. travellers, and is expected to continue to

remain that way

until at least December. A ban on travel to British Columbia, which could include cruises, would have devastating impacts on the 2021 Alaska cruise season. Ships leaving from Seattle, too, need to call on Canadian ports in order to satisfy the long-standing U.S Passenger Vessel Services Act. Cruise Critic will update this article as more information is available.

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