Health and Safety Updates Regarding
COVID-19 Pandemic

April 29, 2020

Re: COVID-19 – 2020 Sailing Season Update

As the public health, social, and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt worldwide, it’s clear that everyone has been impacted one way or another, and certainly Outer Shores and all our guests.

Here in British Columbia, a wide range of travel restrictions, public health orders and advisories, states of emergency, and institutional and community closures have now resulted in the suspension of all of our 2020 expeditions through June 30th. In particular:

  • The Canada-US Border remains closed until at least May 21st.
  • All remote First Nation communities of the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii are closed to non-resident visitors, indefinitely.
  • Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site is closed until at least June 30th.
  • All BC Parks and Conservancies are closed, indefinitely.
  • Pacific Coastal Airlines has suspended all flights coast-wide until at least May 31st.

We will continue to monitor and work closely with a wide range of federal, provincial, and Indigenous governments, and industry associations to determine what the remainder of our expedition season may look like. Any further changes to our 2020 schedule will be communicated to our guests as soon as we possibly can.

In the meantime, without knowing exactly how all of this will work out, we’ve taken all necessary steps to ensure that Outer Shores is well prepared to weather this storm, and we’re looking forward to resuming our normal operations as soon as it’s legal, practical, and ethical to do so.

Over the past several weeks we have been working closely with all of our guests who have been, or may be, affected by these events and uncertainties. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our guests, industry partners, and government representatives for all the incredible support, patience, and understanding we’ve received as we’ve been navigating these uncharted waters. Thank you!

We hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and well during these difficult times.

Warm regards,

Russell Markel, PhD
[email protected]


March 17, 2020

Dear Outer Shores Guests, Family, and Friends,

In light of recent and rapidly-evolving developments, here in British Columbia, across Canada, and globally, we have come to the regretful conclusion that it is no longer logistically possible, or socially responsible, to attempt to operate our 2020 expedition season as planned.

As such, we are announcing today that, due to circumstances out of our control, we will not be operating our Pacific Rim National Park expeditions in April, or our Spring Great Bear Rainforest expeditions in May. We will be monitoring developments closely and will provide further updates on the rest of our expedition season.

Foremost, it is critical that everyone do everything they possibly can at this pivotal point in time to reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Our governments, health authorities, experts, and scientists are telling us that in order to “flatten the curve” of this global pandemic, we must suspend all unnecessary travel and practice social distancing. We must all stay home and stay healthy.

Here on the British Columbia coast, many of our expeditions visit, and depend upon, remote Indigenous communities and cultures that are disproportionately at risk for severe outcomes of COVID-19 infection and transmission. As such, any efforts to put additional pressure, and risk, on these communities and cultures, and our friends and colleagues, would be unconscionable.

To our International travellers, yesterday the Government of Canada closed our border to all non-Canadian visitors, with the exception of our American neighbours, but with the stipulation that all visitors entering Canada must self-isolate and self-monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 infection for at least 14 days. As a result, for the time being, it’s simply impossible for you to travel to British Columbia under these unprecedented circumstances.

To our Canadian travellers, many of whom I’ve spoken with recently, we appreciate that everyone has been willing to continue with your expeditions if at all possible. However, it’s clear now that for the time being, the risks are simply just too high – for you, our crew, the communities we visit, our families, and our business.

Given how quickly the current landscape of events is changing, I want to express my commitment to taking care of all our guests the best we can during these difficult and uncertain times. In the days ahead, we’ll be reviewing our cancellation and payment policies to look for ways to create more flexibility for everyone, and will be reaching out to all of our guests to discuss your circumstances and figure out next steps. I look forward to speaking with each of you in the days and weeks ahead.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate our way through these unknown waters. I hope you and your families stay healthy and well.


Sincere regards,

Russell Markel, PhD
[email protected]

March 17, 2020

As of yesterday, Monday, March 16th, the Government of Canada has implemented a travel ban for all travellers who are not Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or Americans.

Further, every individual entering Canada must now self-isolate and self-monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.

These restrictions functionally prevent all non-Canadian travellers from visiting Canada for the foreseeable future.

The Public Health Authority of Canada (PHAC) continues to assess the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as Low for the general population of Canada. However, it notes that the higher risk of more severe outcomes for people who are:

  • Aged 65 years or older
  • Have compromised immune systems
  • Have underlying medical conditions.

The Provincial Government of British Columbia is strongly requesting that all visitors, including those from the United States, please do not travel to this province the time being.

Similarly, remote Indigenous communities in British Columba are requesting that visitors do not visit their communities for the foreseeable future, due to the disproportionately high risk of COVID-19 infection in these communities.

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