Should you book that summer vacation? B.C.'s top doctor weighs in
VICTORIA -- At a briefing in Victoria Thursday, B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked whether people should start to make reservations for travel this summer, given the relatively good news COVID-19 modelling has shown in the province.
“I'll never put a date on it, because it much of it depends on what we do,” replied the province’s top doctor.
Case numbers need to remain low, Henry said, adding that she watches coronavirus cases unlinked to known outbreaks very carefully. Any new outbreaks could put the government’s “restart” plan up in the air. She also cautioned large-scale rallies and protests like those we’ve seen in Vancouver could lead to a surge in cases.
“We are very hopeful that we'll be moving into our next phase in, you know, come the middle of June, into July,” Henry said. “I am hoping, myself, to be able to travel very soon.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan had previously said we wouldn’t be able to start talking about phase three of the province’s reopening plan until the middle of June, by which time there would be enough data since the first set of restrictions were eased in mid-May to know if transmission rates had increased or remained low.
The province’s plan shows June is when hotels and resorts can reopen and people can start travelling. The document shows the transition to phase three happening between June and September.
Henry acknowledged even if some tourist and hospitality places open up, some communities, particularly smaller ones, aren’t sure if they can handle the virus. She says a network of health officials will monitor outbreaks and provide testing.
“If everything continues to go as we have been seeing, I'm very hopeful that end of June into July, we'll be able to take those vacations that we all need,” she said.
Once they have the ability to travel, residents will need to be confident they can do so, safely. Henry also encouraged businesses to be flexible with rescheduling and cancellation policies.
“I'm hopeful that we will have a summer in July and August if things keep going the way they are.”