Kelowna Cruises pauses sailings after 'discussions' with IH

Party boat caught cruising

A Kelowna houseboat cruise operator has run afoul of provincial health officials after one of their houseboats was videotaped pulling into Kelowna Harbour on Saturday night full of partying guests.

The Global News video showed a Kelowna Cruises houseboat pulling into downtown Kelowna after sunset on Saturday night with partiers filing off the boat and onto the docks.

Castanet has reached out to Kelowna Cruises for comment but have not received a response.

Interior Health said Wednesday Kelowna Cruises has agreed to stop operating until April 24 "following discussions" with the health authority.

"An adequate COVID-19 safety plan will be required prior to resuming operations. The operator could provide dinner service provided they have a COVID-19 safety plan that meets any provincial orders in place when they resume operations."

More than a week ago provincial health officials announced the start of a "three-week circuit breaker," closing indoor dining and indoor adult fitness classes, but clearly, there were misconceptions about the orders.

Party boats often do include outdoor spaces which can accommodate more than 10 people, the current maximum for outdoor gatherings.

Provincial health officials have not shut down limos and party buses completely but they do have to comply with regulations around hours of operation and physical distancing of guests.

Interior Health has indicated that, for the most part, party boats fall under orders related to vacation accommodation that limit the number of visitors to rental units.

A post on Kelowna Cruises Facebook page from August of 2020 indicates, "the safety of our passengers and crew is of the utmost importance. Throughout the 2020 season we have been proactive regarding COVID 19 policies and procedures. We have corresponded regularly with Interior Health and BC Centre for Disease Control as to how to operate safely. We have decreased passenger numbers and implemented stringent cleaning policies and social distancing measures."

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