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

Four staff members at the Okanagan Men’s Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 23, 2020. (Adult and Teen Challenge OMC photo)
Four positive COVID-19 cases at Okanagan Men’s Centre

Those affected are staff and have been in isolation since Oct. 23

Vince Schnabl looks at the view this October from the Gorge, west of Revelstoke. (Photo by Jon Wichett)
There’s 3 times more snow near Revelstoke than usual

According to 54 years of data from Parks Canada for Glacier National Park

Mail in ballot, provincial election 2020. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Mail-in-ballots coming in from Columbia River Revelstoke

In a progress report Elections BC said around 45 per cent of those issued have been returned

Mayor Gary Sulz (centre) cuts the ribbon for the new roundabout. Councillor Jackie Rhind (left) and Councillor Cody Younker (right) are on either side. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke’s newest roundabout opens on Victoria Rd.

The project took approximately six months to complete

Revelstoke Drill Hall as it looked July 19, 1970; current home of Trans-Canada Fitness. (Estelle Dickey/Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 392)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Oct. 29

Local history straight from the newspaper archives

Sooke’s Paul Larouche enjoys gold panning along the Sooke River, looking for small treasures. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Island man finds niche audience by gold-panning on YouTube

Paul Larouche, 29, with over 215,000 subscribers, opens up about his journey

The Kimberley Dynamiters' next two exhibition games have been postponed due to an individual testing positive for COVID-19. Paul Rodgers file.
Member of Kimberley Dynamiters tests positive for COVID-19

Exhibition games in Fernie, Creston postponed

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

H.O.P.E. Outreach volunteers not only spread support, but thanks to donations they offer makeup, jewelry and clothing to sex trade workers in Vernon and Kelowna. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Warm clothing sought for Okanagan’s most vulnerable

Coat drive at People Place Sunday, Nov. 1 in Vernon and Nov. 7 in Kelowna

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

On Nov. 8, 2017 as the search was called off, white tents and black privacy fencing were no longer visible at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek and fewer police vehicles were present. (File photo)
Several police vehicles seen at Sagmoen farm in Shuswap Thursday night

RCMP at Silver Creek property where the remains of an 18-year-old Vernon woman were found in 2017

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

Most Read