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B.C. welcoming Alberta travellers, asking for caution

Last Updated Jun 26, 2020 at 11:17 am MST

Okanagan Lake (CREDIT: Marianne Hardy)

VANCOUVER (660 NEWS) – The lake is calling and many Albertans are itching to visit B.C., now that our neighbours to the west have moved into phase three of their pandemic relaunch.

That means hotels, motels, spas, resorts, hostels and RV parks can resume operations but large gatherings are still restricted to 50 people.

It also means non-essential travel is being encouraged within B.C., including visitors from outside the province.

“Now that we’re moving into Phase 3, our message to them would be slightly amended to say, if you’re coming to British Columbia, be mindful of what British Columbians have done together to get us to a position where we can welcome people from other parts of the country,’ said Premier John Horgan.

WATCH: B.C. enters phase 3 of COVID-19 restart plan

Ellen Walker-Matthews with the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association said while they can’t “advertise” to Albertans, the welcome mat is out.

“I think B.C. and Alberta recognize their close relationship and how dependant we both are on having each other in our provinces and enjoying the space.”

She said if you want to stay away from crowded areas, like the bigger cities and popular beaches, get off the beaten path to places like Wells Grey Provincial Park, Douglas Lake, Oliver and Osoyoos.

While there have been reports of unfriendly locals Walker-Matthews said that was weeks ago and believes people understand our economies are very closely linked.
“I’ve talked to quite a few visitors and they feel like they’re here, having a really relaxed, enjoyable vacation and that they’re welcome and that things feel as normal as they can under the circumstances.”

Premier Horgan and B.C.’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry both stress the importance of keeping social circles small and taking precautions to keep locals and visitors safe.

“If we go too far, we risk a rebound, and we will risk losing ground that we have worked so hard to get. None of us want that. So respectful travel, our travel manners, as we go into this unique summer means maintaining those safe social interactions, planning ahead, and being prepared,” said Henry.

“And if we’re talking about people coming in from other provinces, then we need to help them understand how we have done this here in B.C.”