The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) has a simple message for anyone contemplating visiting or staying at a secondary home or cabin in the regional district during this pandemic:
Popular destinations like Christina Lake are quiet right now and the RDKB wants to keep them that way.
Their staff and elected officials ask anyone with plans to travel to a secondary home or cabin in the region in the coming weeks to cancel those plans and #stayhome instead.
The regional district says the risk of overwhelming healthcare facilities in smaller communities and of transmitting the COVID-19 virus between visitors and residents is just too high.
“I want to be sure that we do everything we can as a local government to safeguard the capacity of our healthcare facilities, healthcare staff and our first responders to do the difficult jobs already in front of them,” said Diane Langman, RDKB board chair.
”Plain and simple, if you own a cabin or secondary home in the RDKB and want to visit it or stay at it during this pandemic, please, not now,” she said.
“Not in the coming weeks. Stay home.”
Mark Stephens and his EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) team of 15 have been working for the past three weeks to carry out advance planning and communications to support lead agencies including Interior Health, and they have been working with other local government staff to keep regional essential services running.
“Anyone who travels right now risks exposing themselves to COVID-19 either while traveling or while visiting, and risks potentially spreading the novel coronavirus to others,” Stephens said.
“Don’t do it,” he stressed.
“I would emphasize to any potential travelers or visitors that you are better served by remaining in your own communities where your healthcare services are designed to meet your needs as a full-time resident, especially in larger municipalities.”
The regional district serves more than 31,000 residents in eight incorporated municipalities and five unincorporated electoral areas. The RDKB stretches across 8,200 square kilometres from Champion Lakes in the east all the way to Big White in the west.
“We are looking forward to the day, and I hope this comes soon, when we can invite everyone back to our beautiful region to enjoy themselves with their families,” Langman said.
“That time will come, but not now. Now is the time to stay home.”
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