With Easter weekend coming up, local government leaders on the west coast of Vancouver Island are re-emphasizing their plea to all potential travellers to stay home and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The First Nations, municipalities and communities of the West Coast send an urgent appeal to all potential day-trippers, visitors and second home owners to stay at home for the Easter long weekend and not visit Tofino, Ucluelet or the West Coast region,” read a joint- statement from all eight West Coast communities on Thursday. “In keeping with recommendations from every level of government and every public health official, now is not the time to travel for tourism or recreation purposes. Now is not the time to visit your second home or permit your friends to use your empty vacation rental. Now is not the time for a surfing, fishing or camping trip.”
The statement was signed by Hesquiaht First Nation Chief Joshua Charleson, Ahousaht First Nation Chief Greg Louie, Ucluelet First Nation President Chuck McCarthy, Toquaht First Nation Chief Anne Mack, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation EOC Chairman Elmer Frank, Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, Ucluelet Mayor Mayco Noel and Electoral Area C Director Kel Roberts.
The statement adds, “Now is the time to stay home and bend the curve—not bend the rules,” and reminds potential tourists that the amenities they’re accostomed to when they travel to the Coast are largely shut down.
It notes that the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and all local Provincial Park sites are closed as are wildlife watching operators, surf rental businesses and “virtually every accommodation operator, small and large.”
The statement adds local First Nations communities are “completely locked down to visitors.”
“Show your love and respect for our small communities, for our treasured elders and senior citizens, for our limited health care resources, and for our frontline workers who are sacrificing time from their own families this Easter weekend,” the statement reads.