SuperyachtNews COVID-19 Advisory - British Columbia
Victoria International Marina CEO Craig Norris on the current state of play within the cruising grounds of British Columbia…
COVID-19 is just another challenge in a world evolving faster than any of us can keep stride with. Our primary COVID-19 management strategy is to use our risk management process, now overwhelmingly informed and regularly updated by COVID-19 data coming from the leading health authorities and relevant governing bodies. Our regional government has also done a tremendous job and appears to be doing all the right things - see the recovery plan (BC Restart Plan). Our process allows us to consider all of our actions through the filter of acceptable risk to our clients, our staff and our community.
There are three categories of risk response we watch: (1) Government orders; (2) Health professional advisories; (3) Best practices; and, (4) Socially acceptable norms.
The top three COVID-19-realted government orders (which we just view as additional risk measures) currently impacting superyacht traffic in our region are:
1. No gatherings larger than 50 people and all gatherings requiring a plan showing how social distancing will be maintained (Provincial Order of the Provincial Health Officer)
2. As of April 22, 2020, the 30-day restriction on all non-essential (discretionary) travel at the Canada-U.S. border that was implemented on March 21, 2020, was extended for an additional 30 days until May 21, 2020. This applies to all foreign nationals, including immediate family members, such as spouses/partners.
3. Anyone arriving in British Columbia from outside Canada is to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their arrival and complete/register a self-isolation plan. (Provincial Order of the Provincial Health Officer). Any person entering Canada by air, sea or land is required to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19 (Federal Emergency Order)
4. Wedding ceremonies to consist of no more than five people: the couple, the marriage commissioner and two witnesses and that they physically distance during the ceremony. (Provincial Order of the Provincial Health Officer
This hasn't stopped our ongoing efforts to create Exceptional Experiences for our clients; it has only required that we consider the risks and put proper control measures in place to limit them to acceptable levels. For example, this weekend was to mark our first and the biggest Nordhavn Rendezvous in history, which was postponed due to border restrictions and number of US customers that couldn't travel to Canada.
We were, however, able to offer Canadian yachters a special "Mother's Day At a Distance" experience where locals gathered on their yachts to take in an amazing heatwave (30-degrees), beautiful sunsets and several COVID-19-compliant experience packages. We even had some ‘untraditional’ marine wildlife reclaim the harbour when a deer entered the water from the adjacent park for a nice swim.
Another interesting experience we are offering stems, in part, from a surge in the local Dungeness Crab population thriving during this dip in recreational fishing. With the proper COVID-19 procedures in place at the marina, and guests who take social distancing seriously, we have remarkable crab feasts on our docks. Our keys are also wide enough that clients can safely walk past each other at all points and interact safely.
Business is beginning to pick up. We don't know when the border will open between Canada and the USA but we know it will - and when it does, BC's COVID-19 scorecard is impeccable and we trust that that reputation will help assure visitors that we will be effective in managing their safety. We are seeing the positives in all of this and feeling more connected than ever.
Victoria International Marina is the partner of The Pacific Superyacht Forum, the revised dates of which are now confirmed as 20th -23rd June 2021 in Victoria, British Columbia. If you would like to know more about our plans for 2021 or to enquire about opportunities to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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