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A Vancouver Island MP has penned a letter to the prime minister and B.C. premier asking to restrict all non-essential travel on BC Ferries amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Paul Manly, MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, says he is concerned about reports of a spike in ferry traffic over the Easter weekend.

“There can be no justification for a rise in ferry ridership during a long weekend in a public health emergency,” he wrote.

“This can no longer just be a request for people to stay home. The government needs to restrict travel and enforce that restriction.”

An online petition calling for a ban on non-essential travel has garnered more than 37,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon.

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Petition organizer Bronwen Blunt echoed Manly’s sentiments.

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“I actually live on a major route in Nanaimo, and I’ve seen a lot of people with campers and boats driving by,” she said.

Blunt said a ban should be in place ahead of the May long weekend.

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