The rule affects ships in Canadian waters that carry more than 100 people and offer overnight accommodations.

By Alison Fox
June 01, 2020
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Canada has banned medium and large-sized cruise ships until at least the end of October, according to the country’s federal government.

The ban, which is in effect through Oct. 31, covers ships in Canadian waters that carry more than 100 people and offer overnight accommodations, Transport Canada said on Friday. Additionally, passenger ships carrying more than 12 people are banned from entering Arctic coastal waters like the Labrador Coast.

“Our Government is committed to protecting Canadians, particularly during these challenging times,” Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said in a statement. “Our Government continues to work with other levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to re-examine measures and to ensure Canada’s transportation system remains safe and secure during this time. We are all in this together.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told CTV News the extension of the ban was to keep Canadians safe, adding COVID-10 is still “a very serious threat.”

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While larger ships are banned, essential passenger ferries and water taxis can continue to operate, according to the government. To protect against the spread of the coronavirus, they have to implement measures like having passengers stay in their cars.

Canada first looked to ban cruise ships in March, initially deferring the start of the cruise season in the country until at least July 1. That applied to cruise ships carrying more than 500 passengers and crew.

The country has recorded more than 92,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the spread of the virus.

The extended ban comes as several cruise lines are looking to resume sailings this summer. Carnival Cruise Line has said it intends to resume part of its North American service on August 1, heading to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. And Royal Caribbean is eyeing a potential August start date as well.

Connecticut-based American Cruise Lines is looking to hit the water even sooner with plans to sail along the Columbia and Snake Rivers on June 20. Their ship, which can accommodate up to 184 guests, will be capped at 75 percent capacity.

Last month, the Seychelles decided to ban all cruise ships from its shores until 2022 over fears concerning the spread of coronavirus.