Island communities urging visitors to stay away during Easter weekend
VICTORIA -- Eight communities on Vancouver Island’s west coast are pleading for travellers to stay away ahead of the Easter long weekend due to COVID-19 concerns.
Tofino and Ucluelet are among the eight communities urging visitors to remain at home, alongside provincial health authorities and B.C. Premier John Horgan.
“The First Nations, municipalities and communities of the West Coast send an urgent appeal to all potential day-trippers, visitors and second-home owners to stay at home for the Easter long weekend and not visit Tofino, Ucluelet or the West Coast region,” reads a notice signed by the communities.
“In keeping with recommendations from every level of government and every public health official, now is not the time to travel for tourism or recreation purposes. Now is not the time to visit your second home or permit your friends to use your empty vacation rental. Now is not the time for a surfing, fishing or camping trip.”
On Wednesday, the B.C. government closed all provincial parks to encourage physical distancing, especially as the long weekend approaches.
Meanwhile, many municipalities on the South Island have taken steps to discourage gathering. The City of Victoria is restricting vehicle parking and access along Dallas Road near Beacon Hill Park, and Oak Bay has closed parking access to Willows Beach.
“If you're tempted to day-trip, use your friend's empty vacation rental, camp on a backroad, drop in on some surf – please have a second sober thought and think of the vulnerable people in your own life and how you want them treated,” said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne in a tweet Thursday.
“We're staying home, and we're asking you to too.”
Tofino and Ucluelet were among the first communities on Vancouver Island to ask visitors to stay away during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The west coast communities say travellers are being asked to stay home as health-care resources are limited, and many residents are considered to be in a vulnerable age for contracting the novel coronavirus.