BC gave out new information today regarding the travel restrictions for the province, and they will be using health regions to help define those boundaries or zones that are a part of the travel restrictions. This includes the lower mainland and Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and Northern and Interior regions, all 3 distinct zones.
The authorities in the province will be conducting checks via checkpoints at different regions such as ferry terminals, to make sure that people are traveling only for essential purposes. If they are caught traveling for non-essential purposes outside of those boundaries, from one to the other for example, that could mean a $575 fine for them.
Police will reportedly not be patrolling borders such as those in Atlantic provinces and instead they are going to be using signs to try and discourage travelers.
When it comes to whether or not BC should close its border with Alberta right now there is overwhelming support from those in the province who would like to see those actions taken, according to various polls that have been conducted. The travel restrictions come as various regions have been dealing with an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Health centers are overwhelmed with cases and they need to restrict travel and other activities for several weeks to try and calm things down.
It is expected that the indoor dining restrictions and travel restrictions newly announced might only go until May long weekend, after that we might expect a more normal summer. But if things continue to get worse with more cases then that could mean more restrictions and further lock down in BC and elsewhere.
They are still encouraging people to stay as close to home as they can, and only to engage in essential travel when possible. BC authorities are still encouraging people to go hiking and get outdoors, enjoy the spring weather, but to do it as close to home as possible.
They will be working with tourist agencies and camping sites etc, to try and navigate these new restrictions and cancel those vacation plans that have been made from people from out of town.
There is still a fairly large distance that people will be able to travel even within these regions you see here, such as the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley zone area.
A list of essential activities has been released so that people can learn more about what is and isn’t covered for travel in these regions for the current order in place for BC travel.
Recreational and other non-essential travel is now banned as per this order, you’re supposed to stay in your own BC region.
What is essential travel in BC?
Some of the essential travel in BC includes work travel, helping someone move to a primary residence or return to a primary residence, accessing health care services, travel to access social services, engaging in the commercial transportation of goods, and other limited activities.
Over those next few weeks though the rate of vaccination is expected to increase quickly and that is expected to help bring some light at the end of the tunnel. Officials have suggested that if we lock things down a bit more for these few weeks that it is going to help be what is needed to ensure that we do have that normal summer and fall, much more normal like what we are used to having.
Travel will be restricted in those 3 zones in BC and that means some are going to have to change their spring or summer plans, if those restrictions extend past May long weekend.
BC Ferries has already been asked that they not take reservations from any recreational vehicles that might be traveling outside of the health authority regions and hotels and others in the tourism industry are also being asked the same, they’re working together to navigate this crisis.
BC is looking for a more normal summer and fall but they might have a hard time getting there if the vaccine plan faces issues, right now they are behind other countries like the United States in vaccination rates. Some researchers have suggested that the current vaccine plan isn’t enough to get us open for a new normal even by fall later this year.
BC has just recently opened up vaccinations to those who are 18 years and older and soon that should help to drastically increase the number of people who are vaccinated, it continues to climb in Canada with overall 11 million doses given out so far. That is over 24 per cent of the country that has gotten their first dose already. They have faced issues with their vaccination plans along the way but things seem to be speeding up now.
Still, will they have enough to open by summer or fall? We will have to wait and see how it goes. Until then we are in another slight lock down with indoor dining recently restricted, among other activities, and now this travel order too.