Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. (Destination B.C.)

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. (Destination B.C.)

‘Stay local’: B.C. tourism groups back COVID-19 travel ban

Fast-spreading variants make non-essential travel too risky

B.C.’s tourism industry has been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but hotels, motels, restaurants, bars and tourist attractions are backing the province’s regional travel ban to give time for more people to be vaccinated.

Non-essential travel is prohibited between B.C.’s Lower Mainland, Interior and Vancouver Island regions, and discouraged even between communities in the same region. Accommodation providers are also declining reservations from outside their region until May 25, to match current public health orders.

“While the tourism and hospitality sector has done an amazing job implementing rigorous health and safety plans to keep its staff and visitors safe, COVID-19 takes every opportunity to spread,” said a joint statement from the B.C. government and industry associations April 23. “Unnecessary travel is too risky right now.”

The statement is signed by Brenda Baptiste, chair of Indigenous Tourism B.C.; Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of B.C.; Ingrid Jarrett, president and CEO, B.C. Hotel Association, Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport; and Richard Porges, interim president of Destination B.C., the province’s international tourism agency.

“Let’s support local businesses today by ordering take-out, eating with our immediate household on a patio, picking up a coffee and enjoying it at a local park, visiting a local attraction or booking a staycation at a local hotel. Now is not the time to travel for leisure and risk spreading COVID-19.”

RELATED: Non-essential travel ban in effect, backed by $575 fines

RELATED: Canada’s COVID-19 reproduction rate slowing down


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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