“Plate hate” is getting out of control on Vancouver Island.
More and more, we are hearing conversations and seeing social media posts from people hating on those with American and out-of-province licence plates. The concern is understandable: our province, and our Island are slowly lifting the restrictions that have kept COVID-19 from ravaging our communities, and the fear of a second wave is close to the surface.
Seeing the growing numbers of cases of COVID-19 diagnosed south of the border is scary too.
Hearing the instant hatred whenever someone sees an American licence plate is also a concern, especially when people are quick to judge without first asking questions.
There are people with out-of-town licence plates who are here legitimately—whether for business, to look after family members from their home of origin, or because they haven’t changed their plates to British Columbia plates yet.
We don’t know everyone’s situation, and it behooves us all to be cautious in where we throw our judgment.
The Canada Border Services Agency is clear: travel to Canada for discretionary reasons—which includes tourism or recreation—is prohibited under COVID-19 measures until at least July 21. That date could still be extended. There are fines in place for travellers who fail to follow the rules as stated under the Quarantine Act and in contravention of CBSA rules. These quarantine rules have been extended until Aug. 31, 2020.
If you think someone is in your community when they shouldn’t be, mark down their licence plate number and where you saw them, then call the CBSA’s reporting line at 1-888-502-9060 and pass on the information.
If you know someone is violating the Quarantine Act (not quarantining for 14 days or isolating upon entry to Canada), then call the Public Health Agency of Canada or the police agency of jurisdiction. Don’t call the police with licence plate numbers.
And don’t confront the visitors: they may have a legitimate reason to be in our community.
It is up to the CBSA to dole out punishment: not regular citizens.