Truck driver Rodney Dueck is used seeing westbound traffic with red and white licence plates during his trips to and from Alberta, but isn’t comfortable with what he’s seeing now.
Despite all the concerns and warnings around controlling the spread of COVID-19, the Silver Creek resident said he’s still seeing plenty of B.C.-bound Alberta traffic.
“I drive between B.C. and Alberta so I’m watching them go west… motorhomes, RVs, pickups loaded down with camping gear, U-haul trailers, travel trailers,” said Dueck, upset our Alberta neighbours are choosing this time to visit.
“When I can’t see my grandkids because I don’t want to infect anybody or I can’t see my parents because I don’t want to infect them, I can’t visit my neighbours across the fence, I can’t even go to church, and to see these hoards of Albertans flooding into B.C. really annoys me,” said Dueck.
Under normal circumstances Dueck said he values Albertans visiting the B.C., and the Shuswap, and supporting the local economy. But he worries about the impact those visiting now could have on efforts being made in both provinces to “flatten the curve.”
“Our hospital supplies are limited already, if they get sick, now we don’t have enough stuff for our own people let alone all the tourists, and the groceries on the shelves, well, there’s not enough of that either,” commented Dueck.
”Somebody had made a comment that they had talked to one Albertan and they said, ‘well, we can’t do anything in Alberta because it’s all shut down so we may as well go to our beach house in the Shuswap.’ Well, this is not a time for vacation.”
On Thursday, March 26, B.C. Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced new measures under the province’s state of emergency that went into effect on March 18. Among them, enabling municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of the provincial health officer’s orders for business closures and gatherings, carrying fines of more than $25,000 or jail, to be determined by the courts under the authority of the public health act.
“This is not a drill,” commented B.C. Premier John Horgan. “The orders — they are not suggestions or good advice. They are the law.”