Regional emergency operations centre is advising all visitors and second homeowners not to visit qathet Regional District, City of Powell River, or Tla’amin Nation for the coming holidays. This travel advisory includes Savary, Lasqueti and Texada islands.
According to a media release from the regional emergency operations centre, BC has seen an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is strongly encouraging the public to follow all COVID-19 orders and advising everyone to stay close to home during the holiday season.
“We understand the desire to leave large urban centres in order to physically distance yourself and to visit with families, however such actions threaten the safety of our entire community,” stated regional district chair Patrick Brabazon. “In order to ensure everyone can celebrate the holidays, we strongly urge you to postpone travel plans to our region until further notice.”
The qathet region is not immune to the effects of COVID-19, according to the release. Earlier this fall, Tla’amin Nation experienced an outbreak of more than 35 COVID-19 cases, prompting a state of local emergency order.
“Our roads remain closed to the general public with the exception of essential services and certified contractors in order to limit gatherings,” stated hegus John Hackett. “Gathering with family and friends that do not live with you greatly increases the chances of catching or spreading COVID-19.”
Regional health-care facilities rely on limited resources and are continuing to provide for those in need, the release stated. According to City of Powell River mayor Dave Formosa, the region cannot provide health services for a large influx of visitors.
“Our health facilities need to focus on providing vital care to our local residents,” stated Formosa. “By reducing travel and remaining home for the holidays, you can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect your family and friends.”