BC closes the door to visitors in bid to control Covid-19 spread

By: Thomas I. Likness
EBC News Service

(Eagle News) — The western Canadian province of British Columbia has rolled up the welcome mat and is telling visitors to go home as well as restricting travel for people living in the province.

The travel restrictions are an attempt to control the spread of Covid-19 and its variants,

“We will be putting new border signs along the Alberta border reminding travelers coming from outside the province that unless they are coming for essential business, they should not be here, they should be back in their home communities,” Premier John Horgan said Monday.

Essential travel for work, medical or the transportation of goods is still allowed.

Horgan says residents of the province are being told not to engage in any leisure travel outside of the health authority in which they live. And he says this will be enforced.

“We’re going to be randomly checking as we would during a Counter Attack program (for impaired driving) all vehicles for a period of time on a piece of highway, somewhere in British Columbia,” said Horan.

Details of enforcement are being worked out and more will be known by the end of the week, he added.

In an effort to limit travel between Vancouver Island and the mainland, Horgan says BC Ferries will limit the types of vehicles it carries.

“At the end of this week, BC Ferries will stop accepting bookings for recreational vehicles like campers and trailers,” he said. “BC Ferries will also be contacting their passengers which have booked reservations to make sure that their travel is essential and is not leisure travel.”

Tourism operators will help

Horgan has also enlisted the help of the tourism sector to discourage leisure travel.

“We’re working on a voluntary basis with the sector to find ways to cancel bookings that have been made and to not accept anymore bookings going forward, through the May long weekend,” he said.

“These measures are designed not to put more stress on already stressed tourism sector,” added Horgan. “Quite the contrary, we’re working in collaboration with the tourism sector to make sure that they can have a positive summer, and a fall and a winter that will try to make up some of the fallback that they’ve seen as a result of Covid-19.”

The travel restrictions will remain in place until the end of the May holiday weekend.
(Eagle News Service)