British Columbia

Mayor of southeastern B.C. ski town urges province to restrict interprovincial travel

The mayor of a small community in southeastern B.C., is still calling on the provincial government to restrict interprovincial travel, even though the premier said last week he wouldn't right now because most of it is work-related.

Non-B.C. car licence plates concern local residents, says Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore

Rossland, B.C., city council has asked the province to do more to restrict non-local, out-of-province visitors from coming to the small Kootenay community amid COVID-19. (Sarah Mosher/CBC)

The mayor of a small community in southeastern B.C., is still calling on the provincial government to restrict interprovincial travel, even though the premier said last week he wouldn't right now because most of it is work-related.

In a Jan. 19 news release, the City of Rossland said council had asked B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to do more to ensure people outside of the municipality are following public health orders to stay home. 

"From our community, we've heard a number of people who are concerned. They see visitors from out of town, or out-of-province licence plates," Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore said Friday to Chris Walker, the host of CBC's Daybreak South.

"Our concern is for short-term visitors who come for brief holidays, do not quarantine and congregate against the Provincial Health Officer's recommendations," Moore said in her  statement.

On Thursday, Alberta's health minister also decided not to ban interprovincial travel. However, earlier in the week, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced a 14-day quarantine requirement for non-essential visitors to his province.

Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore says the presence of non-B.C. car licence plates has some local residents concerned. (City of Rossland)

Moore says Rossland, which is home to the RED Mountain ski resort, has sent a letter to the province seeking clarification on what staying local means for her region.

"Honestly, they [the province] are in a tough predicament," she said.

She says council is suggesting local be defined as the area within the Kootenay Boundary health service delivery area, which covers municipalities such as Trail, Nelson and Castlegar. 

Data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows only one COVID-19 case in the Rossland area during Jan 17–23, distinguishing the southern Interior town from similar skiing destinations such as Fernie, which declared a coronavirus cluster on Wednesday, and Whistler, where nearly 300 people tested positive for the highly infectious disease in January.

Moore admits there's not much municipalities can do if non-local and out-of-province short-term visitors come to Rossland.

"The power that we have is just to communicate to potential visitors … 'bear in mind that this is a tough time. We all have to be patient and get through it together,'" she said.

Tap the link below to hear Kathy Moore's interview on Daybreak South:

Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore speaks to Chris Walker about her call for potential visitors to stay local, play local. 7:23

With files from Daybreak South

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