Hereditary Chiefs Nanus (Mike Tallio) and Q’umulha (Rhonda Schooner) (photo submitted).

Hereditary Chiefs Nanus (Mike Tallio) and Q’umulha (Rhonda Schooner) (photo submitted).

COVID-19: Bella Coola enters ninth week of travel restrictions as checkpoint remains active

The checkpoint has now been active for 57 days

The checkpoint at the bottom of the hill remains active in the ongoing effort to protect the valley from COVID-19. So far no end date has been provided but Nuxalk leadership has stated that they plan to “work collaboratively” on a re-opening plan for the Valley when the time is right.

“We want to extend our gratitude to everyone in the Bella Coola Valley. It has been a difficult time but thanks to you we do not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19,” said Nuxalk Emergency Operations Centre Deputy Jessica Miller.

An information checkpoint was activated by the Nuxalk Emergency Operations Centre on March 25 and was followed by a community lockdown notice issued by Nuxalk hereditary leaders on April 27. The community is now entering its ninth week of restricted travel and it doesn’t appear to be easing anytime soon.

“At present the checkpoint is continuing and non-essential travel restrictions remain in place,” said Miller. “Nuxalk leadership is working on a collaborative re-opening plan for the Valley. We want to work together to ensure re-opening works for everyone and is done safely and effectively.”

Neighbouring Tsilqhot’in communities such as Xeni Gwet’in and Stone still have active checkpoints, as do the coastal communities of Haida Gwaii and Bella Bella, which recently extended their travel ban to May 31. There are also checkpoints in Tahltan, Nisga’a and Nak’azdli Whut’en in the north. The message is the same: visitors are not yet welcome.

Many parks in the regions are still not open, with Gwaii Haanas National Park announcing it will not open until at least June 30. A re-opening date has not yet been determined for local Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

International travellers returning to B.C. are still required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan. The Canada-U.S. border is not slated to re-open until June 21, and non-essential travel throughout the province is still strongly discouraged.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said last week that people leave non-essential travel for later in the summer and stay closer to home in the meantime.

“Wherever you live is an outstanding place. Stay there and enjoy it,” Horgan said. He also noted that even if travel to other communities may be safer later in the summer it doesn’t mean people there would welcome it. Horgan said travellers should be considerate of people who live in small communities and might be concerned about the potential strain on their health-care resources.

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

Just Posted

COVID cases in the Bella Coola Valley have dropped to just four active cases (file photo)
Active COVID cases drop to four; schools re-open for face-to-face instruction

A total of 63 cases were recorded with 59 now out of isolation

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Joyce Cooper (left) said she had to set an example for Tsilhqot’in communities by sharing her COVID-19 positive results. (Photo submitted)
Tsideldel off-reserve member documents experience of COVID-19

We should all be supporting one another and not judging each other, says Joyce Cooper

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Nuxalk Public Health Nurse Sophie Mack is all smiles as she vaccinates her dad, hereditary chief James Mack Sr., with his first dose of the Moderna vaccine (photo submitted)
Cases drop as vaccine continues to roll out in Bella Coola

Seniors at Mountain View Lodge, Nuxalk elders, hospital staff and long-term care residents have all started to receive their vaccines so far

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

Most Read