Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines said in a news release this week that the ferry service between Yarmouth, NS and Bar Harbor, ME won't operate in the 2021 season because of COVID-19.
Mr. Hines said:
“The province remains committed to this service in the long term. It will resume when circumstances allow. Many Nova Scotians invest time, effort and money based on this ferry service, and many highly skilled people work on it. We are appreciative of their service and effort and know they will understand the circumstances."
The US-Canada border is currently closed to all non-essential travel - a situation which the Canadian government would seemingly like to maintain indefinitely. A large percentage of Canadians aren't expected to be vaccinated against COVID-19 until summer.
Bay Ferries of Charlottetown, PEI is under contract to the Province of Nova Scotia to operate the Maine-NS ferry service using the high-speed ferry The Cat, on which it has a 5-year lease from the US Navy.
In 2019, the Province of NS provided subsidies to Bay Ferries amounting to around CAD20M.
Bay Ferries will continue to maintain the ship, but early cancellation of the 2021 sailing season will save the Province money on marketing, crew and terminal labor, and expenses related to moving the ship to Yarmouth from its winter berth in Charleston, SC.
The Cat last ran between Yarmouth and Maine in the summer of 2018. The 2019 season was canceled because of terminal construction delays at Bar Harbor - following the change of Maine port from Portland to Bar Harbor - and the 2020 season was canceled because of COVID-19.
It looks like NS won't be welcoming many Americans in summer 2021.