ST. JOHN’S – For the second summer in a row, Marine Atlantic is postponing its Argentia crossing. The service had been scheduled to resume on June 16, but concerns over the ongoing pandemic and its impact on the Atlantic Bubble, coupled with provincial travel restrictions will push that date back until July 4.
“We recognize this inconvenience and apologize to our customers for this schedule change. We recognize that customers have travel plans and this decision will negatively impact those plans,” stated President and CEO Murray Hupman in a press released issued Friday, May 14.
“We continue to monitor updates and are working with Public Health officials in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, and are optimistic that together we will overcome the current challenges in Atlantic Canada and hopefully begin our Argentia season on July 4. The team at Marine Atlantic is committed to providing customers with a safe and healthy experience and we are looking forward to being part of our customers’ travel plans when it is safe to do so.”
Nova Scotia is grappling with over 1,500 active cases of COVID-19, including 85 people in hospital, with 15 of those reportedly in intensive care. The province has issued exposure alerts for over 100 different locations, including grocery stores, public transportation and large retailers.
As a result, Nova Scotia has implemented severe travel restrictions. Starting May 20, anyone entering the province must first submit an application and await approval. Only essential workers and permanent residents will be considered, but applications for child-custody arrangements, and exempt travellers like first responders will be approved automatically.
Marine Atlantic stated that immediate decisions were required to amend the start date of required annual preparations for the service, and will reach out to all affected customers. Passengers will have the option of selecting an alternate travel date, crossing into the province via the Port aux Basques to North Sydney route, or having a full refund issued.