VANCOUVER -- Sunshine Cabs on the North Shore and Kuber Taxi, based in Surrey, are suspending taxi service amid the COVID-19 crisis.

In a news release, Sunshine Cabs says the decision was made due to health concerns and a drop in business, as demand for taxis plummets.

“Due to the nature of our business wherein, we are transporting members of the public in enclosed taxis, it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing of two metres, for the safety of both our valued customers and taxi operators. Currently, we do not see any resolution to this public health crisis in the short term,” Sunshine Cabs wrote in the release.

The cab company calls the decision to suspend service as of 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 28 “unprecedented and difficult.”

The company says it is helping taxi operators access financial supports. All dispatch staff will be laid off.

Gurdip Sahota, the company's general manager, says about 100 drivers and owner-operators will be affected, along with an estimated 17 dispatch staff and two managers.

The company says it hopes to resume operations once the crisis has passed.

Kuber Taxi, which is based in Surrey, has also posted a “service interruption notice” to its website.

“Due to COVID-19 we have temporarily suspended our cab services until further notice,” it says. “Please contact other available means of transportation.”

The company indicates it hopes to resume service at some point.

Other taxi companies are continuing to operate, including airport pickups for passengers that may be returning from international travel.

The Vancouver Taxi Association has shared health information with drivers across Metro Vancouver.

Drivers have been instructed to wipe down cabs after each trip and all cabs are expected to be equipped with disinfectant. Gloves are also being made available to drivers.

If a driver learns a rider has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, protocols have been put in place. The driver would have to enter self-isolation and their cab would have to be disinfected being before being used for service again.

According to the precautions released by the taxi association, drivers who have travelled, or who may have had contact with family members who travelled to high-risk areas must notify dispatch and enter self-quarantine for 14 days.

On Monday, Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu addressed some of the transportation concerns involving travellers returning to Canadian airports and looking to get home to enter mandatory two week self-quarantine.

“We are looking for ways that we could even provide transportation for people that don’t have capacity to transport themselves in a way that’s private,” Hajdu said.