Summer has hit the South Cariboo.
There’s steady traffic through town, local resorts and campsites are fully booked and people are flocking outside like ants to a picnic. And with the BC Day weekend just around the corner, the number of tourists is likely to continue to swell, especially in our smaller towns and our lakeshore resorts.
We need these tourists, especially on the heels of COVID-19, to help boost our ravaged economy and get business back on track.
Resort operators in the South Cariboo are already taking extra precautions to accommodate the increase in local and BC tourists. Hand sanitizers at the ready. Washrooms closed. Places like Crystal Springs in Lac la Hache take the names, addresses and emails of all guests and prohibit visitors to their sites.
But campers, visitors and residents have to do their part, too. Although we in B.C. were lauded for flattening the curve early on, Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry warns we are now at a turning point. Cases are ticking upward and last weekend B.C. recorded another 81 new cases of COVID-19. In Interior Health, we now have 353 cases.
On Monday, Dr. Henry amended the order around mass gatherings, by limiting the number of guests at short-term rentals, hotels and vacation and boat rentals, restricting the number of visitors at those locations and requiring all guests and visitors to provide contact details. She also reminded those who are in self-quarantine to stay there. “It’s not an option, it’s required,” she said.
It’s easy to forget about the virus when you leave the city for a vacation in B.C.’s wide open, rural areas. But while everything always looks brighter in the sunshine, we can’t afford to let our guard down.
If you’re travelling this B.C. Day long weekend, take heed of Dr. Henry’s warnings: stay away from crowds, avoid close contact with strangers and respect operators of campsites and resorts by keeping your groups small. Foregoing a party now could keep us out of lockdown for the rest of summer.
We’ve come this far, let’s not pop the bubble now.