Quadra Island urges B.C. residents to follow travel orders, stay away for now
Published Sunday, April 25, 2021 12:56PM PDT Last Updated Sunday, April 25, 2021 1:00PM PDT
VANCOUVER -- Community leaders on Quadra Island are urging non-residents to follow B.C.'s new orders banning non-essential travel between health regions.
We Wai Kai First Nation Chief Ronnie Chickite and Electoral Area C District Representative Jim Abram issued a joint statement Saturday asking would-be visitors to stay away "until further notice."
The island community off the coast of Campbell River issued a similar declaration during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
"We have gone from bad to worse over the past year and it is time to do more to stop this deadly pandemic," the officials said in their latest statement.
The provincial government has ordered British Columbians not to travel between health authorities, with $575 fines for those caught doing so.
Details on the province's plans for enforcing the travel ban are expected to be released later this week, but BC Ferries and hospitality organizations have already begun scrutinizing bookings and cancelling reservations for those looking to travel outside their region for non-essential reasons.
Health officials have also been advising people not to travel far for non-essential purposes even within their health authorities.
Reached by CTV News Vancouver on Sunday, Abram elaborated on Quadra Island's rationale for asking people to stay away.
"On Quadra Island, we're still waiting for our massive (vaccine) clinic to happen here and that doesn't happen until at least May 3 to deal with people under 80 years old," he said.
He added that he'd like to see authorities be more stern in their warnings to the public about travel.
"As the ICUs and the hospitals start to fill up, (people in Campbell River and on Quadra Island) become very, very vulnerable," Abram said. "We have to preserve our medical system, and the only way we're going to preserve that is to tell people: Stay home. Do as you're told."