Queen Victoria arrives in Barkerville during the 2019 Victoria Day weekend celebrations. Barkerville Historic Town and Park typically opens in mid-May, but this year, due to COVID-19, the expected opening day has been pushed to June 18. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

B.C. tourism on track for in-province travel, John Horgan says

Premier expects essential-only travel advisory to be eased soon

B.C.’s COVID-19 essential-travel advisory could be lifted as soon as next week’s cabinet meeting to allow tourist attractions to invite out-of-town guests, Premier John Horgan says.

Emerging from his weekly cabinet meeting at the B.C. legislature June 10, Horgan hinted that a decision to lift the provincial travel advisory is imminent, as coronavirus cases continue to taper off in the province. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been monitoring B.C.’s risk as schools and businesses reopen.

“I think the likelihood of us traveling inside of B.C. is very, very high,” Horgan said. “Dr. Henry wanted to wait for two incubation periods to make sure that the positive results we’ve been seeing over the past number of weeks continue. I think that we’re going to be hearing an announcement from government based on advice from Dr Henry and her team that internal travel can begin.”

Tourism-dependent businesses have issued dire warnings about being able to survive as restrictions have stretched toward three months. Destination B.C. has a province-wide marketing program ready to go, replacing the international promotion it usually runs, Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention

COLUMN: Residents should explore B.C. to help tourism industry

Barkerville, the gold rush town in the Cariboo, has set a tentative reopening date of June 18, and the province is on track to allow that as long as coronavirus cases don’t spike up. Some remote and Indigenous communities have indicated they don’t want visitors, and Henry has advised that communities are free to make that determination based on their local conditions.

B.C. does not have a travel ban within the province or from other provinces, but highway signs continue to advise essential travel only, and B.C. and Alberta health ministers have urged people to avoid travelling to summer homes during the pandemic.

Horgan held out little hope of any resumption of non-essential international visitors, key to many B.C. tourism operators in previous years. And he said the travel advisory reflects the reluctance of many people to travel beyond their local area.

“British Columbians need to get out, stretch their legs, go to other places, but they’re not feeling particularly comfortable about that just yet,” Horgan said. “We’ve had great results in B.C., but when you look at other parts of the country, in fact when you look just south of us in Washington, Oregon, and California, we’ve seen a spike in cases. As we’ve been going down, they’ve started to dial back up again.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

COVID on Central Coast prompts call for information sharing

At least four cases have been identified on the central coast

NAALS receives funding for new child care centre

This project incorporates a longhouse design and reflects a Nuxalk architectural approach.

Lorena Draney celebrates 100th birthday in Bella Coola

She still knows how to enjoy a good party!

Smoky skies from US wildfires continue to affect Bella Coola

There is a special air quality warning in effect from Environment Canada for our region

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read