Areas inside of the Regional District of Mount Waddington are discouraging tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Gazette file photo)

North Island joins parade of communities asking visitors to stay away

‘Visit later seems to fit’

More and more northern Vancouver Island communities are starting to publicly discourage tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alert Bay, in conjunction with the ‘Namgis First Nation, actually went a step further than just discouraging tourism by issuing a news release stating that “no pleasure or tourist travel is permitted to Cormorant Island. We are a friendly community and we value visitors and tourists, however, with the current health crisis, we ask that you visit another time.”

According to the release, Cormorant Island is a “isolated, remote community with limited resources and we are taking extreme precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our community members.”

Both Port McNeill and Port Alice have also issued news releases discouraging tourism during the pandemic.

Port Alice released their’s first, noting the village would like to ask tourists to “avoid visiting our community during this time. As a small community we need to focus on keeping our essential service workers and residents as safe as possible, especially considering the limited medical resources we have in Port Alice.”

The release also noted that many services in the village have already closed “to support the directives set in place by the Province so we do not have accommodation available in our community or in the campsites and parks that surround our area. We will be happy to welcome you back to our community as soon as it is safe to do — please do your part to keep yourself and our community healthy!”

Port McNeill then followed suit in discouraging tourism shortly after.

“The COVID Pandemic (Coronavirus) us living in a strange world,” stated the Town of Port McNeill’s news release. “We are saying and doing things we might not otherwise do. One of them is asking you (tourists) not to come and explore our region… until later.”

The release added that there have been strict guidelines issued by the Province of BC around how many can gather, when to self-isolate and on social distancing, and “though you might think it’s a good idea to get away from it all and social distance here, we are asking you not to do so at this time.”

According to the town’s release, “Our hospitals are small and unable to handle more than the basic emergency. We don’t have an operating room for injuries that may occur while you are on holidays. Each hospital is equipped with a single ventilator.”

To conclude the release, the town then stated that “Because our community is remote, we are doing our very best to minimize the risk to our residents. Your visit could introduce the virus to an area where it may not currently exist.

“Though some hotels may be open, we do not have the capacity to serve you. Our Visitor Information Centre is closed, our parks and campgrounds are closed and the few restaurants open are take-out only. There are no tours to partake in. The local grocery store is doing their best to meet our own demand, but that is proving to be difficult at times.”

Meanwhile, the District of Port Hardy has not issued any release regarding the discouraging of tourism as of press time.

Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick did state to the North Island Gazette that they haven’t directly been advertising it, but they are definitely advocating to follow all Provincial and Federal recommendations and orders.

“Tourism Port Hardy and NVI Tourism are promoting #visit later so rather than saying ‘don’t come’, I think our message is more that with our small community comes smaller infrastructure, businesses, staff, etc. so if something were to happen and we had too many non-residents here at this time it could be even more challenging. Visit later seems to fit.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

‘I love my animals very dearly,’ says man at centre of Saanich park allegations

Man accused of assault after being approached for allegedly mistreating his dog

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Author chronicles churches built by pioneers in the Salish Sea

B.C. author Liz Bryan preserving a little bit of pioneer history in her latest book

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

UPDATED: Saanich firefighters investigate early morning fire at elementary school

Fire crews remain on scene at Strawberry Vale Elementary

Fire damages home on Fifth Avenue in Port Alberni

Fire crews spend late morning hours knocking down blaze

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

MISSING: Victoria police search for high-risk missing woman last seen June 24

Amanda Williams is a 34-year-old Indigenous woman with short black hair and brown eyes

Plans for pot shop in Sidney spark back to life

Changing provincial regulations could clear the way for Sidney’s first ever pot shop

Most Read