Only one of three bus lines that normally provide transportation between Thompson and Winnipeg is still providing service, as NCN Thompson Bus announced March 25 that it is suspending its passenger services, though still transporting freight, until April 12.
“The safety of our employees, clients and community is more important than travelling between our locations, the ability to be on buses, like airplanes to social distance is extremely challenging and we don't want to endanger anyone's well-being,” said NCN Thompson Bus in a Facebook post Wednesday. “We continue to monitor the situation closely with Manitoba Health and plan to be back in full operation on April 12th unless other events develop.”
Mahihkan Bus Lines announced March 18 that service between Thompson and Winnipeg and between The Pas and Thompson would be suspended for two weeks.
Maple Bus Lines said in a service bulletin posted on its Facebook page March 24 that it is still providing service between Thompson and Winnipeg every night from Sunday to Friday.
“We are employing a new social distancing on our coaches where passengers will be seated at every second row of seats to space everyone out,” said the bulletin. “This is not optional and has to be done to minimize any risks to our passengers. We are still following strict sanitizing guidelines and will continue to do so every time a coach is used.”
Calm Air is currently operating on a reduced schedule, offering one morning flight from Winnipeg to Thompson Monday to Friday and one afternoon flight from Thompson to Winnipeg Monday to Friday. Flights to Gillam and Churchill depart from Winnipeg every Tuesday and Thursday morning, stopping in Thompson en route. Flights from Churchill and Gillam to Winnipeg leave Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, stopping in Thompson along the way.
Perimeter Aviation said March 17 that it had instituted screening for passengers and that anyone with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection would not be allowed to board its planes. The airline also said it is in the process of finalizing a new flight schedule to ensure the communities it serves would continue to receive regular service with enough capacity to move all passengers, cargo and mail without delays or interruptions.
Manitoba public health officials are advising Manitobans to cancel or postpone any non-essential travel and anyone who returns from international or domestic travel should self-isolate and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their return. These travel advisories do not apply to commercial transportation of goods and services, workers who live in a neighbouring jurisdiction and travel to Manitoba for work, health care workers who travel to work from outside the province or normal personal travel in border communities, including visits to a cottage on the other side of a provincial boundary.
The federal government announced that anyone returning from international travel as of midnight March 25 must self-isolate for 14 days or face penalties including a maximum fine of $750,000 and six months in jail.