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Officials ask interprovincial visitors to pack 'travel manners' when coming to B.C.
VANCOUVER -- As British Columbia enters the third phase of its pandemic response, officials are offering a "slightly amended" message to people considering travelling to the province from other parts of Canada.
On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan asked that all interprovincial visitors respect the COVID-19 precautions that B.C. residents have used to successfully flatten their curve and keep infections low.
"If you're coming to British Columbia, be mindful of what British Columbians have done together to get us to a position where we can welcome people from other parts of the country," Horgan said.
The premier had an even warmer message for neighbours in Alberta who own property in B.C.
"I'm certain that they'll be coming for the summer and we welcome them," he said. "We hope they'll abide by the guidance of their neighbours on how to act and comport themselves while they're here."
The new approach is significantly softer than officials' previous message. While B.C. never made any attempt to officially restrict interprovincial travel, Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry previously asked that people from other provinces avoid visiting unless they had a good reason.
Henry said it's unlikely B.C. would attempt any such ban, even if an influx of visitors led to new COVID-19 outbreaks in the province.
"I don't see us ever putting in restrictions," she said Wednesday. "But we want people to have their travel manners on when they come here."
Officials stressed a similar approach for British Columbians who are making plans to travel within B.C. this summer – particularly in small communities that might be short on health-care resources.
Horgan and Henry asked vacationers to plan ahead, and to respect the wishes of communities that have asked visitors to stay away for the time being.