Dr. Bonnie Henry urges residents not to travel within B.C.

Travel within BC discouraged

The province is urging the cancellation of all non-essential travel, including tourism within B.C., to slow the spread of COVID-19.

During the daily virus press conference Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry asked those in B.C. to halt all travel within the province not deemed “essential,” especially to smaller communities.

“There are many of our smaller communities that are very concerned about people coming to vacation homes, to fishing lodges, etc. I am asking people now to forego those types of travel,” Dr. Henry said.

She said smaller communities may not have the healthcare resources to handle an outbreak if a tourist transmits the virus.

“That's a really important thing that we need to do now to protect those who are more vulnerable in those communities, particularly our seniors and our elders in our small and remote communities around the province,” she said.

With spring here and summer around the corner, the measures could be more bad news for the Okanagan tourist industry, which has already been decimated by COVID-19 measures. The industry has also dealt with challenges due to wildfires and floods in recent summers. 

While Dr. Henry has issued enforceable public health orders in the past, like forcing those returning from international travel to quarantine for 14 days and prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people, an order was not issued to prohibit non-essential travel within the province. 

As of Thursday, a total of 1,121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been identified in B.C., although 641 of these patients have fully recovered. The bulk of the cases have been identified in the the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions. 

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