Cruise ships carrying 100 or more people will continue to be banned from Canadian waters until Feb. 28, 2022, Transport Canada announced Thursday (Feb. 4). Current bans had been scheduled to end on Feb. 28, 2021.
“Cruise vessels in Canadian waters pose a risk to our health care systems,” the agency said in a statement. Cruise ships have largely been banned from Canadian waters since the COVID-19 pandemic began, following mass outbreaks on several ships.
Transport Canada also noted that adventure-seeking pleasure craft are still prohibited from entering Arctic waters, while passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are still prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast.
Pleasure craft used by local Arctic residents are not affected, the agency added.
Fines for breaking cruise ship and pleasure craft rules range from $5,000 per day for individuals and $25,000 per day for groups or corporations. Those who continue to not comply with the rules could face fines of up to $1 million, up to 18 months in jail or both.
Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, must continue to follow all local public health rules and measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including reducing the number of passengers on board, ensuring physical distancing, making masks mandatory and increasing cleaning and hygiene measures.
Cruise ships with fewer than 100 people on board must also continue to follow local and provincial health guidelines.
Overall, the federal government is continuing to recommend that Canadian citizens and permanent residents avoid cruise ships of any kind.
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