Tofino, Ucluelet urge Lower Mainland residents to stay away amid tightened COVID-19 rules
VANCOUVER -- In response to tightened COVID-19 restrictions in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions, communities on Vancouver Island's West Coast are once again asking visitors from the Lower Mainland to stay away.
District and tourism officials from Tofino and Ucluelet issued statements last week urging travellers coming from the affected regions postpone their visits until after Nov. 23, when restrictions are scheduled to expire.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the new restrictions for residents of B.C.'s two largest health authorities, where the vast majority of the province's COVID-19 cases are located, last weekend.
Among the changes was a return to the recommendation that residents limit themselves to "essential travel only," though that's only a "recommendation in the very strongest terms," not an order, Henry said at the time.
In a statement on its website, Tourism Ucluelet reiterated this recommendation and asked residents of the affected regions to reschedule their trips.
"While Ucluelet continues to be low risk, to keep the west coast safe, we are kindly asking residents in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions to adhere to recommendations from the provincial health officer," the statement said.
Tourism Tofino joined the district and the local chamber of commerce in issuing a similar statement.
"We appreciate that this recent announcement has implications for many travelers and businesses and, as public safety remains our community’s top priority, we’re encouraging all travelers from these health regions to speak to your accommodation providers to reschedule your trip to Tofino until it is safe to travel again," the organizations said.
There are no recommendations against non-essential travel for residents of health authorities outside the Lower Mainland, including those who live in the portion of Vancouver Coastal Health that includes Bella Coola and some of the mainland's central coast.
During the early stages of the pandemic in B.C., Tofino and Ucluelet joined other tourist destinations and remote communities in urging travellers to stay away in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus.