VICTORIA -- The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) is asking for all tourists and residents to avoid unnecessary travel to and from the region amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The request includes travelling to other communities within the district, including Gabriola Island, Mudge Island and DeCourcy Island.

“Travel should be discouraged unless it’s necessary,” said RDN board chair Ian Thorpe.

“The more we can encourage people to stay home and self-isolate and not go out unless they need to, the better.”

The regional district’s request echoes orders from provincial health authorities. Currently, the Ministry of Health recommends that British Columbians only leave their homes for essential trips, like grocery shopping.

Meanwhile, residents are being reminded to practice physical distancing and remain at least two metres apart from one another while out in the community.

On Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reiterated the importance of self-isolation and said that no one should be in close proximity to anyone that they are not living with.

The RDN is the latest of many Vancouver Island communities that have begun asking visitors to stay away due to COVID-19.

Last week, Tofino, Ucluelet and Quadra Island and Hornby Island all made similar requests, asking for visitors to postpone trips to the communities and calling on all current tourists to leave the regions.