Camping has been restricted at Lake Koocanusa, and local officials are asking the province for a closure of the B.C./Alberta border to non-essential traffic. File photo.

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

The B.C. and Alberta health ministers are both urging people to stay home during the Easter holiday weekend due to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adrian Dix, the B.C. Minister of Health, along with Tyler Shandro, his Albertan counterpart, issued a joint statement Thursday morning, noting that while both provinces have strong ties, staying home protects families and health care workers.

“This long weekend is different. These are extraordinary times. A global pandemic puts us all at risk – and we all must stay home, stay in our communities and stay at a safe physical distance from others when outside,” reads the statement.

“Spending a holiday away from people we care about is difficult – but what we are doing matters. Together, we are helping slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Let us be clear: Staying home means no travelling – especially across our borders. Instead, we encourage everyone to find ways to connect virtually this long weekend, including by video chat or with phone calls.”

While there are no inter-provincial travel restrictions in place, the issue was raised during a recent Regional District of East Kootenay board meeting in the B.C. Interior, where directors passed a resolution calling on the province to close the provincial border to non-essential traffic and provide stronger measures to restrict or reduce inter-community travel.

“As a region we are united in our desire to reduce the impacts of this virus on our health care system and our communities,” said Rob Gay, the RDEK board chair, in a news release. “While the Provincial Health Officers on both sides of the border have been clear in their messaging that people need to be staying home, that message is not being heeded. We are gravely concerned about the potential impacts on our small rural hospitals, front line workers and communities.”

An online petition is also calling on the province to close the provincial border to non-essential traffic until the B.C. government lifts the state of emergency.

Camping restrictions in the Lake Koocanusa region southwest of Fernie were announced on Wednesday, which banned overnight camping, along with the use of off-road vehicles, for the spring and summer. Day-use areas and trails are still open to the public provided that people follow physical distancing protocols.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Photos: Businesses start to reopen in Revelstoke

Multiple businesses have reopened their doors

COLUMN: Books come back with curbside pickup

Okanagan Regional Library begins first phase of reopening process

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Golden police seek Good Samaritan after house fire

An unidentified individual may have saved lives in the early-morning fire.

Summerland adopts sign policy for Bottleneck Drive members

Policy governs directional signs for wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries

Enderby’s drive-in not safe from top doc’s 50-car limit

Starlight Drive-In opened with reduced capacity, COVID-19 safety measures in place

Parking lot patios a go in Vernon

Council votes in favour of allowing businesses to expand commercial space into on-street parking spots

Shuswap cabin owner disputes request to stay home in Alberta

Alberta resident redrafts response to CSRD request to stay home

Petition seeks to clean up Okanagan forests ‘carpeted’ with shotgun shells

Penticton man says making shot-gun shells refundable would create cleaner forests

Kelowna’s main drag will be closed to vehicles this summer

Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue will be a pedestrian-only roadway from June 29 through the Labour Day long weekend

Vernon gym knocked out by COVID-19

9Round Fitness in Vernon Square Mall owners announce permanent closure of facility

Snapshot: Distanced dancing in Salmon Arm

Friends use picnic shelter at Blackburn Park for safe practice

Most Read