| USA TODAY
Cruise ships will not be permitted to sail in Canadian waters until March 1.
The Canadian government announced Thursday that it would bar cruise ships from its waters through Feb. 28, 2021.
The order pertains to passenger vessels – specifically, cruise ships or “pleasure craft” – carrying 100 or more passengers with the capacity to keep those passengers onboard overnight.
Canada first issued the ban on March 19. It was extended at the end of May with the expectation that it would expire on Saturday.
Thursday’s extension means cruise ships will have been absent from Canadian waters for nearly a year by the time the ban comes up for renewal again.
“Keeping Canadians and transportation workers safe during the pandemic is my top priority,” Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport, said, prefacing the news in a tweet. “With this in mind, our Govt is announcing an extension of the measures regarding cruise ships & pleasure crafts in Canada until February 28, 2021.”
Under the order, water taxis, ferries and other “essential passenger vessels” can keep operating. However, they are required to follow federal, provincial and local guidance in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as masks, limited capacity, physical distancing and enhanced hygiene.
It said local authorities will have the ultimate say as to where any other vessels can sail.
“The extension of these temporary measures for cruise ships and other passenger vessels in Canada reflects our ongoing work with all levels of government, transportation industry stakeholders, and Indigenous peoples to help ensure appropriate measures are in place,” Garneau added in a release.
Canada has seen upwards of 231,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 10,000 deaths since the pandemic’s onset, according to Johns Hopkins data.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “no-sail” order is set to expire on Saturday, after the last of multiple extensions expires.
The CDC had advocated for extending the order to Feb. 15, 2021. But after a compromise with the White House Task Force, it agreed to end the ban on Oct. 31, four days before the Nov. 3 election, a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY.