April 23, 2021
Dear ABLE BC members and industry colleagues,
This morning, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced new travel restrictions that limit non-essential travel in British Columbia.
On the advice of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Minister Farnworth has issued a new order using the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act to prohibit non-essential travel between three regional zones in the province, using health authority boundaries.
Non-essential travel includes:
- Vacations, weekend getaways, and tourism activities
- Visiting family or friends for social reasons
- Recreation activities
Reasons for essential travel are listed on this website.
The regional zones are:
- Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Coastal Health regions)
- Vancouver Island (Island Health region)
- Northern/Interior (Interior Health and Northern Health regions)
Find your health authority here.
While the order puts legal limits only on travel between regional zones, the PHO’s guidance remains unchanged throughout BC: “everyone should continue to stay within their local community – essential travel only.”
This order will be in effect from April 23 through May 25, 2021 (after the May long weekend). It applies to everyone in the province, including non-essential travellers from outside the province.
To help ensure this travel restriction is effective, the Province is also working with:
- Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure: highway signage and increasing signage along the border with Alberta
- BC Ferries: restrict non-essential vehicle passage, deter non-essential bookings and limit sailings
- Tourism and accommodation industry association leaders: strongly encourage all operators and businesses to support the order by declining new bookings from outside their regional zones and cancelling existing bookings from outside their regional zones
- BC Parks: inform the public about restrictions and refund bookings where necessary
- Police departments: establish enforcement measures in the coming days, including “periodic road checks at key travel corridors during times associated with leisure travel to remind travellers of the order.” Police will not be engaging in random checks.
If compliance measures are deemed necessary by police, fines can be handed out. At the discretion of police, a contravention of this Emergency Program Act travel order may be subject ot a $575 fine.
Note from ABLE BC: we strongly encourage operators to educate BC residents and travellers against non-essential travel outside of their identified health zone. By supporting this message over the next several weeks, we can look forward to a summer that is more like those we’re all used to.
To help ensure you’re better positioned to communicate these changes with your guests and staff, a group of tourism and accommodation industry associations, including BCHA and TIABC, have created a communications toolkit. Download the toolkit here.
For more information:
- BC Government News Release: Province introduces travel restrictions to curb spread of COVID-19
- BC Government News Release: Joint statement asking people to stay local to bend the curve
- BC Government Website: Province-wide restrictions
- BC Government Website: Travel and COVID-19
- Tourism Operators Communications Toolkit