Camping has been restricted at Lake Koocanusa, and local officials are asking the province for a closure of the B.C./Alberta border to non-essential traffic. File photo.

Camping has been restricted at Lake Koocanusa, and local officials are asking the province for a closure of the B.C./Alberta border to non-essential traffic. File photo.

B.C., Alberta health ministers urge public to stay home Easter weekend

Regional politicians, online petition calling for closure of provincial border to non-essential traffic

The B.C. and Alberta health ministers are both urging people to stay home during the Easter holiday weekend due to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adrian Dix, the B.C. Minister of Health, along with Tyler Shandro, his Albertan counterpart, issued a joint statement Thursday morning, noting that while both provinces have strong ties, staying home protects families and health care workers.

“This long weekend is different. These are extraordinary times. A global pandemic puts us all at risk – and we all must stay home, stay in our communities and stay at a safe physical distance from others when outside,” reads the statement.

“Spending a holiday away from people we care about is difficult – but what we are doing matters. Together, we are helping slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Let us be clear: Staying home means no travelling – especially across our borders. Instead, we encourage everyone to find ways to connect virtually this long weekend, including by video chat or with phone calls.”

While there are no inter-provincial travel restrictions in place, the issue was raised during a recent Regional District of East Kootenay board meeting in the B.C. Interior, where directors passed a resolution calling on the province to close the provincial border to non-essential traffic and provide stronger measures to restrict or reduce inter-community travel.

“As a region we are united in our desire to reduce the impacts of this virus on our health care system and our communities,” said Rob Gay, the RDEK board chair, in a news release. “While the Provincial Health Officers on both sides of the border have been clear in their messaging that people need to be staying home, that message is not being heeded. We are gravely concerned about the potential impacts on our small rural hospitals, front line workers and communities.”

An online petition is also calling on the province to close the provincial border to non-essential traffic until the B.C. government lifts the state of emergency.

Camping restrictions in the Lake Koocanusa region southwest of Fernie were announced on Wednesday, which banned overnight camping, along with the use of off-road vehicles, for the spring and summer. Day-use areas and trails are still open to the public provided that people follow physical distancing protocols.



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Big White Village on Dec. 16. (Big White photo)
11 more COVID-19 cases linked to Big White cluster

Interior Health provided an update on the cluster on Friday

Administrative headquarters for the Regional District of Central Okanagan in Kelowna. (File photo)
Tempers fly over a pricey picnic shelter in the North Westside

Lack of detail on $121,000 shelter expenditure further incites self-governance wishes

Preliminary designs of the new West Kelowna city hall, which is about to begin the design phase. (City of West Kelowna)
West Kelowna to choose architect for design of new city hall, library

The project is projected to cost $18M by the time it is completed in winter, 2022

(Pixabay photo)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines of the week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

After a Vernon resident tried to domesticate a pair of gopher snakes, BC Conservation Service reminded that it is against the law to keep wild animals in one’s possession. (Yuval Levy/Unsplash)
Wild gopher snakes aren’t pets: Vernon conservation officer

After resident kept two gopher snakes in his home, conservation reminds it’s illegal to domesticate wildlife

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read