The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation announced a return to Stage One restrictions last week as COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the province.
The Nation, whose traditional territory surrounds and includes Tofino, announced stricter measures on Nov. 5, explaining that the Tla-o-qui-aht Council and EOC continues to “work hard to make sure our communities are safe,” during the global pandemic.
“With the increase in cases and the consistent high number of tourists in our region, the EOC has decided to move back to Stage One in our recovery plan,” the announcement reads. “The Tla-o-qui-aht recovery plan will continue in well thought out phases, designed by our EOC to keep our most vulnerable members safe for the long-term.”
The Tla-o-qui-aht communities of Opitsaht, Esowista and Ty-Histanis remain closed to visitors, though members of each community can visit each other provided they socially distance and maintain six-person ‘bubbles.’
“We encourage you to be extra protective and cautious when visiting Elders or other vulnerable people,” the announcement states.
Entrances to each community are gated and health checks are being conducted.
“Members coming into and leaving the community must stop at the health check and will be asked questions to support contact tracing and community health,” the announcement reads.
Social gatherings are not permitted during Stage One and residents are asked to wear masks outside their homes.
Members are urged not to travel past the West Coast junction for non essential trips and to limit their travel to the neighbouring communities of Tofino and Ucluelet to access groceries, supplies, services and their employment.
“Only one member from each household should leave the community to shop,” the announcement reads. “Please check in on Elders and vulnerable residents to see if they need support shopping or accessing essential services and supplies.”
Parents are also being asked to keep their children home and away from the schools in Tofino and Ucluelet.
“Education staff are working with [School District 70] to ensure that our students are supported with in-community/in-home learning. New staff have been hired to support students and families,” the announcement reads.