VICTORIA -- With borders closed and gathering restrictions in place, this May long weekend will not feature the same events it has in the past. There are no international tourists, and the highly anticipated parade has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

The province has started to ease restrictions as part of its reopening plan, but B.C.'s top doctor wants to remind people that doesn’t mean they should be travelling.

"This weekend, less travel is incredibly important, whether it's in your car, on a boat, or even by foot,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in her daily briefing Thursday. “There are many places that we can go safely, and safely enjoy close to home."

People are being encouraged to spend time exploring their own backyards and enjoying the green spaces close to their homes. That means people who live on Vancouver Island, should not be travelling to surrounding cities.

Several smaller communities on the Island's west coast are hoping people will respect their requests to stay away.

"Our request for this long weekend is that you take a look at some photographs of past vacations you might have had on the west coast and think fondly about those memories," says Tofino's Mayor, Josie Osborne. "Please be patient with us and wait until we're ready to accept visitors."

BC Ferries will still be operating with a significantly reduced schedule, and ferries will be running at half capacity. Even still, the ferry operator says it is expecting this weekend to be busy, and is reminding people not to travel unless it is essential.

While the weekend may not look or feel the same, Henry says people can still spend time outside, and socialize, but is reminding people to make sure they are safe.

"Fewer faces, smaller groups, shorter times together and bigger spaces,” the provincial health officer said.