British Columbians anxiously wait to learn the fate of their summer travel plans
A photo from the BC Parks Instagram account is shown.
VANCOUVER -- As health officials have hinted that Phase 3 of B.C.'s reopening plan could come soon if the number of new COVID-19 cases remains relatively low, locals are waiting to learn the fate of their vacation plans.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will provide the latest epidemiology modelling data Tuesday which could paint a clearer picture of when travel for pleasure can resume.
Henry says it’s vital that travellers continue to practice physical distancing.
“We also need to plan before we go find out what services are available and be as self-sufficient as possible with your own groceries and essential supplies in some of the smaller communities,” said Henry.
“This avoids putting additional burden on smaller communities if we're travelling this summer.”
B.C. municipalities that rely on tourism are eager to welcome people back, but health officials say it’s important to research before you book your trip.
Some of the smaller communities aren’t ready yet and may not have the capacity to deal with a potential outbreak caused by visitors.
Henry is reminding everyone to avoid crowds, closed spaces and close contact with others to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“If you get sick while you are away, you need to self-isolate immediately and contact your local public health teams, to get tested and get direction on how to manage,” explained B.C.’s top doctor.
“It may be best in some cases to go home right away in other cases it may be best to stay where you are.”
The mayor of Ucluelet spoke on CTV Morning Live about how his community is feeling about the return of tourists.
“I would say that we’re probably a little hypersensitive where we’re a very small community, and having this travel of non-essential guests in our community just put an extra burden on our medical system, or could have,” said Mayor Mayco Noël.
He’s asking visitors to be mindful of how much they interact with others.
“Just make sure that only one family member goes into our grocery store or to the visitor centre, perhaps bring a cooler with basic food supplies, just so you’re not going in and out of our local co-op five times during the day,” suggested Noël.
BC Ferries has restored sailings on its major routes to prepare for a potential uptick in travellers.
Extra sailings are being added to the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen, Tsawwassen to Duke Point, Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay to Langdale routes.
The extra trips will restore roughly 120 sailings per week to its schedule, compared to earlier in June.
“BC Ferries urges safe and responsible behaviour while on board, including reminding customers to remain in vehicles, maintaining physical distance from other passengers and possessing a face covering in the event physical distancing is not possible,” said the company in a news release Monday.
Popular sailing times may still be full during the pandemic as maximum passenger capacity on each vessel is still reduced to 50 per cent due to Transport Canada health orders.