Should you stay or should you go? Province says don’t travel in BC yet

Should you stay or should you go? Province says don't travel in BC yet
WatchAs BC shifts to 'reopen' many are asking — is it OK to go away?

Warm weather is here, and summer is just around the corner.

But as British Columbia shifts to “reopen” many are asking —  is it ok to go away?

“If you don’t need to travel, you should not,” said B.C. Premier John Horgan

The answer from the province? Not right now, but soon.

Travel to second homes and vacation spots in remote communities, like Tofino, right now is out of the question.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing people when it’s safe to do so,” said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne.

“But we do have a very small hospital here, it’s really designed to support the 5,000 to 6,000 regional residents. But with the influx of tourism, it really put pressure on our health care system, even before COVID.”

But a shift is coming. Provincial parks are reopening for day-use next week. BC Ferries also gearing up for increased demand, adding extra sailings while maintaining the 50 per cent passenger capacity, between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay starting May 15.

Even travel agents, who usually book international trips (something that isn’t happening for Canadians until there’s a vaccine), are now looking local.

“Just offering clients some things to do in their area,” said Cathy Larsen, co-owner of the Departures Travel in Sidney.

“They’ve been quarantined for a while now and they’re ready to get out. Not a lot of people are familiar with what’s in our backyard.”

Now many tourism-driven communities around B.C., like Tofino, are gearing up to welcome tourists as early as June if everything goes well.

But for now, the advice from the province is clear.

“Stay home and enjoy where you live,” said Horgan.

“And ensure that as the summer progresses we can have more interaction with our neighbours.”


Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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