As Osoyoos’ busiest time of year approaches Mayor Sue McKortoff hopes that visitors will remain mindful of social distancing protocols amid COVID-19. Recent crowds and a spike of cases in the Okanagan has ignited concerns among some residents. (File photo)

As Osoyoos’ busiest time of year approaches Mayor Sue McKortoff hopes that visitors will remain mindful of social distancing protocols amid COVID-19. Recent crowds and a spike of cases in the Okanagan has ignited concerns among some residents. (File photo)

Mayor of Osoyoos urges social distancing ahead of busiest time of year

Residents have raised concerns regarding hotels and bars as town’s busiest time of year approaches

As tourism season ramps up in the South Okanagan, Osoyoos hotels are booked near capacity and concerns over social distancing are on the rise.

Hotels in Osoyoos are currently booked at 95 per cent capacity and the town’s mayor, Sue McKortoff expects more out-of-town traffic with the August long-weekend approaching.

“My concern is this weekend because the long-weekend in August is typically our busiest time,” said the mayor.

McKortoff is urging people to be a part of the solution rather than the problem. This comes after a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Kelowna was traced to private parties in the city in early July.

READ MORE: Ninety COVID-19 cases related to Kelowna cluster

McKortoff says she has not heard of any particular instances of overcrowded hotel parties, but she also hasn’t been to hotels to observe the crowds.

McKortoff has received a handful of complaints from concerned residents regarding overcrowded bars and shops. In this instance, she urges people to refrain from entering the establishments.

“I hope they turned around and went out and didn’t continue,” said the mayor. She also said the same message stands for hotel rooms.

B.C.’s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, issued a provincial health order July 27 limiting the number of guests and visitors in short-term vacation rental homes and houseboats control the size of parties. However, this does not apply to hotels.

READ MORE: B.C. sets limits on number of guests, visitors in vacation rentals, houseboats

WorkSafeBC and regional health authorities have rules in place to enforce social distancing, however Mckortoff urged all hotel, bar and shop owners to take responsibility for how many people are allowed in at once.

For the most part, McKortoff thinks establishments have been following the rules but she also knows that can’t be said for everyone.

“I don’t know what to do. Do we fine people? If we fine people that are not following the rules we can educate and suggest that they do but we can’t evict them or tell them to do something different, but I think that business owners would certainly have that right,” she said.

McKortoff said it comes down being respectful and caring of others. If people take a moment to think about the consequences of their actions it could prevent a lot of unsafe behaviour, she said.

“You have to look after yourself and protect yourself and that way you’re helping to protect the community… I have not heard of any wild times at hotels but my goodness I certainly hope there aren’t.”



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

The Revelstoke Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop donated items to the Hospice Society’s care cart. (Submitted/Hospice Society)
Hospice Society thanks contributors to Hospice on Wheels cart

When volunteers couldn’t visit the society introduced a care cart

Revelstoke City Council have denied an application for a development variance permit that would have allowed a cannabis store to be located at the strip mall that hosts Zalas. (Photo via Google Maps)
Revelstoke council stubs out cannabis store proposed at Zalas strip mall

The business was within 100 metres of an organization that hosts youths

The North Columbia Environemental Society has officially become the . (North Columbia Environmental Society)
NCES officially becoming new branch of Wildsight

Wildsight board directors voted in favour on Jan. 25

Castlegar Sculpturewalk 2020 – 10 Year Anniversary Sand Sculpture. (Submitted/CBT)
CBT arts and culture grant program now accepting applications

Apply through the Kootenay Columbia Cultural Alliance

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to reports of a structure fire on Valleyview Place Jan. 26, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
Fire snuffed in Vernon home

No visible smoke, flames from area of reported structure fire

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Most Read