Tips and best practices for keeping yourself, and our communities, safe this summer.
Like most aspects of our lives, travel has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This may not be the year for international vacations, but our collective successes in flattening the curve has meant residents of British Columbia are free to enjoy a “stay-cation” within our province – if it’s carried out in a smart, safe and respectful manner.
Do Your Research Before You Go
Many of British Columbia’s small towns and communities rely on tourism to support their economy. As we collectively plan our summer trips, it’s important to remember we aren’t leaving COVID-19 behind. We must be respectful of the communities we plan to visit, and be mindful of the fact some Indigenous communities in B.C. are not welcoming visitors at this time. Individuals are encouraged to do their research on their destination before travelling. Visit Indigenous Tourism BC for a list of Indigenous experiences in the province that are currently open and welcoming visitors. Here are some best practices to be aware of before you depart:
- Plan ahead and make sure the community you want to visit is accepting visitors
- Be respectful of locals
- Contact the local visitor centre, tourism association or Chamber of Commerce to learn what services are available
- If the community you plan on visiting doesn’t have resources to support you, bring your own essential supplies
- Support local small businesses whenever you can
Guidelines for Social Interaction
COVID-19 is still present in our communities and we all need to remain vigilant. It’s vital to keep respecting our provincial health guidelines about physical distancing, while keeping our risk as low as possible. Here are some best practices for interacting with those within your bubble, and outside of it.
Inside Your Bubble
Your bubble consists of people within your household and can be carefully expanded to include a small number of additional people.
- Limit the number of people within your bubble
- Be mindful of the fact that every person you add to your bubble means you’re now connected to everyone within their bubble
- You don’t need to wear a mask or observe social distancing with those within your bubble
- Vigilant hand washing and space cleaning is still vital within your bubble
- If you do become sick, immediately self-isolate from those within your bubble as much as possible
Outside Your Bubble
As we’ve moved through the phases of our provincial restart plan, interactions with those outside our bubble has increased. With these extra interactions comes extra risks. While travelling, be mindful of this additional risk and look to mitigate it wherever possible. While wearing of masks isn’t mandatory, it is highly recommended where possible. When interacting with those outside your bubble, be mindful of the following points:
- Wear a face mask where possible
- Keep groups as small as possible
- Remember to keep two metres distance from those outside your bubble
- Limit time spent with those outside your bubble as much as possible
- Stay home and do not interact with others if you have cold or flu-like symptoms
- Take extra precautions around those at higher risk of COVID-19
Travelling and Sickness
If you are feeling sick in any way, stay home. There can be no exceptions to this rule. If you develop symptoms while travelling, self-isolate immediately and contact 8-1-1 for guidance and testing. Take the same health and safety precautions you would if you were at home:
- Wash hands often
- Practice safe distancing of two metres
- Spend time in small groups and open spaces
- Clean spaces often
And last but not least, don’t forget Dr. Bonnie Henry’s Travel Manners: