Indicators of a pandemic Christmas: quick ferry lineups and quiet airport terminals

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The quiet terminals at Victoria Worldwide Airport and empty lanes at Swartz Bay ferry terminal on Christmas Eve have been a stark distinction to what would sometimes be one of many busiest journey days of the 12 months.

B.C. Ferries terminal internet cams confirmed comparatively small lineups overlaying solely a few obtainable lanes earlier than the 5 p.m. crusing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen. Site visitors to the southern Gulf Islands was equally mild and the standard vacation crowds have been equally absent from Nanaimo’s Departure Bay and Duke Level terminals.

“Individuals are clearly following Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendation,” mentioned B.C. Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall, referring to the provincial well being officer’s journey advisory asking British Columbians to keep away from non-essential journey.

The variety of folks travelling on ferries was down about 75 per cent on Dec. 23 , sometimes one of many busiest days of the vacation season, in contrast with final 12 months, Marshall mentioned. Car site visitors was down about 50 per cent.

B.C. Ferries usually provides about 180 further sailings over the vacations, however added solely 46 this 12 months.

Nonetheless, there’s nonetheless a lot of business site visitors transferring important items and Christmas parcels between the mainland and the Island, she mentioned.

Dec. 23, 24 and 27 are sometimes the busiest days for journey on B.C. Ferries, Marshall mentioned.

B.C. Ferries continues to ask folks to keep away from non-essential journey. Anybody who does journey should put on a face overlaying whereas on board, and is inspired to test the B.C. Ferries web site for the diminished vacation schedule.

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Issues are additionally comparatively quiet at Victoria Worldwide Airport.

It usually sees about 6,500 travellers on the busiest journey day of the 12 months — normally round Dec. 21 — however this 12 months, solely about 850 folks handed by, mentioned Rod Hunchak, the airport’s director of enterprise growth and neighborhood relations.

Passenger site visitors has diverse month to month throughout the pandemic, with March seeing a drastic 90 to 95 per cent drop from the earlier 12 months. By way of the summer time, the airport was seeing passenger numbers about 80 per cent decrease than final 12 months till restrictions tightened in November and the variety of travellers dropped to early pandemic ranges, Hunchak mentioned.

Passengers are down about 70 per cent proper now in comparison with the vacations final 12 months, he mentioned.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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