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Coronavirus: ‘Stay close to home’ for Victoria Day long weekend, says Columbia Shuswap regional district

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is asking visitors to stay away for now. The call is in addition to other communities in B.C.’s Southern Interior, who have voiced concerns about an influx of visitors this weekend. Columbia Shuswap Regional District

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is asking travellers to not visit the region this coming holiday long weekend.

On Wednesday, the regional district issued a press release that “encourages citizens to stay close to home,” adding “right now, the best vacation is a staycation.”

“While it may be tempting to take a trip to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) this Victoria Day long weekend,” said the regional district, “the CSRD wishes to reiterate that everyone should avoid non-essential travel.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Regional district tells tourists to avoid South Okanagan, Similkameen

The call is in addition to other communities in B.C.’s Southern Interior, who have voiced concerns about an influx of visitors this weekend.

On May 1, for example, the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen issued a statement asking tourists to stay away for fear of overwhelming local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Since then, the province announced that it has a four-phase plan to reopen the economy, but said it has no plans to resume large gatherings, adding that international travel and tourism will remain restricted.

READ MORE: Timeline: How B.C. plans to reopen amid COVID-19

According to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), staying home is key to protecting vulnerable people from the COVID-19 virus, and it helps ensure medical and other essential services in smaller communities do not become overwhelmed.

“Despite the gradual easing of restrictions, all non-essential travel – even travelling within B.C. – is continuing to be discouraged by medical health officers,” said CSRD board chair Kevin Flynn.

“The best course of action is to stay close to home.”

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Flynn added “this is not the time to pack up the car or RV for a road trip or to head for your cabin. This is the time to stay local and check out all the great things about your home community.”

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The CSRD noted that while area parks, trails and boat launches remain open for use, physical distancing requirements continue to apply.