The N.W.T. government is still assessing the “full impact” of new federal restrictions on the operation of passenger ferries, put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
On Sunday, the federal government announced prohibition on all non-essential operations for ferries that carry more than 12 passengers, until June 30.
Those ferries that still operate must “immediately reduce by 50 per cent” the number of passengers allowed on board, and implement new cleaning standards and procedures.
The new measures don’t affect cargo vessels or private pleasure craft.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the territorial government said they “are working to assess the full impact on our ferry operations ahead of the upcoming ferry season.”
The four government-run passenger ferries in the N.W.T. typically begin operating in mid- to late May.
“The health and safety of everyone in the Northwest Territories is our first priority,” the statement reads. “At the same time, we are committed to delivering essential services during COVID-19 in the safest way possible.”
“Given the short duration of our ferry crossings, our passengers can easily stay in their vehicles and will likely be required to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic,” it continues.
“Staff can and will regulate the number of people on-board if needed.”
The new measures also included an extension to the ban on cruise ship travel through the Arctic, which is now prohibited until Oct. 31.