British Columbia

Make sure any travel this weekend is essential, health minister says

"If you're going go to Sechelt, if you're going to go to the Shuswap, or if you're going to go to the Gulf Islands, bring your own food, your necessities there," Adrian Dix said Wednesday.

Travellers advised to pack their own food and not visit stores in other communities

Health Minister Adrian Dix said British Columbians should not travel for non-essential reasons. But if you must hit the road, consider packing food with you instead of stopping in other communities. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Health Minister Adrian Dix repeated a familiar plea to British Columbians Wednesday: Don't travel around the province unless it's absolutely necessary.

But he offered some less familiar advice for those who do hit the road on the Victoria Day long weekend. If you do travel, pack food with you and avoid shopping in other communities.

"There will be a time in the future where we will really encourage everyone to shop locally in Sechelt," Dix said at his daily briefing with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. 

"But for the moment, if you're going to go to Sechelt, if you're going to go to the Shuswap, or if you're going to go to the Gulf Islands, bring your own food, your necessities there."

Dix said it was important "to maintain at least some semblance of a bubble" when visiting new locations as a matter of respect for those communities.

"This is a good weekend to stay at home to stay with the ones you love and not to travel," he said.

Officials have urged people to avoid non-essential travel for weeks to help contain the coronavirus.

"Every corner of B.C. is spectacular," Premier John Horgan said last week. "Wherever you live is an outstanding place. Stay there and enjoy it."

Some smaller communities have talked about or established visitor bans and checkpoints to turn back non-essential travellers. The fear for some is that out-of-towners could introduce the virus or take up scarce health care resources.

Henry, on Wednesday, also advised against non-essential travel but "essential" can mean different things to different people.

"Do it mindfully … you don't have to go and contribute to the lineups in the local grocery store," Henry said.

"Those are the things that we want to be able to do to make sure that we can support our family in other cities and other parts of the province."

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