Sun Peaks Ski Resort photo via Pixabay
With Canadians being told not to travel internationally during the pandemic, many are shifting to domestic winter vacations. With British Columbia considering a Maritime-style travel bubble, banning visitors from other provinces in order to combat B.C. ‘s own rising number of COVID cases, winter travel options are getting smaller and smaller.
B.C. Premier John Horgan told The Chilliwack Progress that the topic of inter-provincial travel was discussed during a conference call last week between the country’s premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, but was skeptical that such a move was legally possible. He noted that Canadians have the constitutional right to travel freely throughout the country, but the province was seeking legal advice on what options were available to them.
“On the surface it would seem an easy thing to do, to just tell people not to come here,” Horgan said. “That’s not part and parcel of who we are as Canadians. Other premiers have expressed a similar view. We want people to stay home, stay in place until we get through this. I’ve appealed to other provincial premiers to make the same case, and they’re doing that. But despite that, British Columbians, Canadians are free to travel within the borders of Canada.”
While Atlantic Canada has been successful at limiting the number of visitors during the pandemic, demanding that they require approval before entering, Horgan said it’s not so easy for a province as large as B.C.
“There’s only a few ways in or out (of Atlantic Canada) and it’s easier to manage than it would be here in B.C.,” he said.
Global News reported that resort communities such as Whistler have seen an influx of out-of-province visitors, including provinces with high COVID-19 counts like Ontario and Quebec which worries some local residents.
“British Columbians are worried about people coming from elsewhere when they are making sacrifices of their own,” Horgan told Global.
With fewer people choosing to vacation outside of the country, tour operators like Air Canada Vacations have switched to promoting domestic travel to destinations like British Columbia which is popular with skiers and outdoors lovers.
The ban will significantly affect
the industry’s winter product options.
B.C. has good reason to consider the provincial closure.
According to a Bloomberg story, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control listed 39 COVID-19 public exposures on flights coming into B.C. from other provinces between 31DEC and 08JAN.
Big White Ski Resort reported more than 130 COVID-19 cases among its staff and local residents which prompted them to cancel all non-local bookings until 05FEB as a result of Henry’s orders.
Michael Ballingall, Big White Resort’s senior vice-president, urges visitors from the rest of Canada to follow the province’s health guidelines.
“Following the rules is not about the bottom line, it’s about bending the curve and staying open for our season passholders and local skiers and snowboarders,” he told Bloomberg.