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B.C.’s Sea to Sky region wants no long-weekend visits during COVID-19 pandemic

The Squamish-Lillooet district includes Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and Lillooet.
The Squamish-Lillooet district includes Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and Lillooet. Stuart Dee / robertharding

Political leaders in BC’s Sea to Sky country are urging British Columbians to stay away Easter long weekend.

Tony Rainbow is the Director of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, which includes Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, and Lillooet.

He says the long weekend is not a free pass to come visit B.C.’s small towns.

“Driving up here on the long weekend to get away from the restrictions that are in place in the city is not the right thing to be doing.”

READ MORE: ‘Please stay away’: B.C. tourist towns urge outsiders to stay home under COVID-19

He says if a COVID-19 outbreak happened in one of those areas, their medical system wouldn’t be able to handle it.

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“It wouldn’t take long to completely overwhelm what little medical system we have.”

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B.C. dairy farmers dumping product due to COVID-19

He’s now wondering if things would change if the government made the recommendation not to travel in the province, an actual law.

“The people who are coming up here are paying no attention for the expectations of physical distancing.”

“They’re gathering for parties, they’re lighting fires, and gathering in chairs and enjoying drinks,” he said. “We don’t want them to come here.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Canada’s border communities adapt as COVID-19 crisis deepens

The Resort Municipality of Whistler, which would normally be a busy Easter long weekend, echoed the sentiments that visitors must not come to the area at this time.

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“Whistler exists to welcome visitors. During these challenging times, however, we are asking visitors to not come to Whistler,” said Resort Municipality of Whistler Mayor, Jack Crompton.

“Now is not the time to come to Whistler. Now is not the time to travel outside your own community. Please stay home and take care of yourself and your family. When we are able, we look forward to welcoming visitors back again with wide-open arms.”