MS Chi-Cheemaun to begin ferry service for essential transportation only on June 1

The Chi-Cheemaun ferry.

MS Chi-Cheemaun to begin ferry service for essential transportation only on June 1, 2020 under conditions of Transport Canada Interim Order Respecting Passenger Vessel Restrictions due to Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

The Federal Minister of Transport has issued an Interim Order to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 on-board passenger vessels carrying more than 12 passengers, prohibiting operations that are discretionary in nature, such as activities related to tourism and recreation, from operating in Canadian waters until June 30, 2020.

Ferries that provide the most practical means to give passengers access to their domicile or residence or their place of employment, give passengers access to essential goods and services, transport cargo to resupply communities, business or industry, or provide other essential services, are permitted to operate provided the service provider implements strict measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

MS Chi-Cheemaun will therefore begin operating a transportation only service for a limited number of commercial and through travellers beginning on June 1 continuing thru June 30, 2020.

This early service is in support of the many commercial carriers who normally use the ferry to transit between regions of northern and southwestern Ontario and customers where the ferry is the most practical means of accessing their owned residences. The ferry service also provides an important second point of access to and departure from Manitoulin Island currently served only by the historic single lane wooden swing bridge at Little Current. Ferry service will not be available for passengers engaging in tourism or recreational activities for the duration of the Interim Order.

In addition, all passengers will be required to bring and wear face coverings for the duration of the crossing and must maintain a physical distance of 2 metres between themselves and other passengers and crew while on board.

MS Chi-Cheemaun COVID-19 mitigation measures:

  • Spring sailing schedule will be followed for the duration of the Interim Order.
  • Only Commercial customers and through travellers will be accepted on the vessel for the duration of the Interim Order.
    “Commercial” is defined as: an essential service provider (hydro, telecommunications, and other), or commercial trucking of goods, livestock or other commodities.

    “Through Traveller” is defined as a non-commercial customer who is travelling for an essential purpose.

    All other reservations will be cancelled; OSTC will contact all reservation holders to screen for purpose of travel to cancel or re-book as required.

    Online reservations will not be available for the duration of the Interim Order. Customers must make reservations via telephone to 800-265-3163 and will be screened for the purpose of travel.
  • Vehicle capacity may be reduced depending on the number of persons in vehicles.
  • Passenger capacity under the Interim Order cannot exceed 50% of the vessel’s certified capacity. Chi-Cheemaun is permitted to carry up to 300 passengers under the Interim Order but will not exceed 125 passengers per crossing to ensure physical distancing is possible throughout the interior passenger spaces.
  • ALL passengers, walk-on and in-vehicle must make a reservation to ensure the passenger count meets the vessel’s physical distancing requirements.
  • NO passenger will be permitted to remain on the vehicle deck; passengers who refuse to leave their vehicle on the vehicle deck will be banned from all future use of the ferry.