July 31, 2020
In a summer that kicked off with inclement weather, in the midst of a pandemic, the clear skies and warmth of the sun can feel like a simple blessing.
And indeed, in these trying times, the simple blessings are what can set apart a good day from bad. But COVID-19 does not take a break for good weather and long weekends. At the risk of repeating ourselves, we must reiterate earlier messages reminding people to tread lightly when it comes to this summer’s adventures.
Make no mistake, this is not a “normal” summer. Covid-19 is with us and will be for some time. In BC, our numbers are seeing an uptick – our curve is going in the wrong direction, but it’s still in our hands to bend it back down.
We understand that people want to get outside and recreate and that this is important, particularly for our mental health, but we must do this in a way that keeps us and others safe, consistent with the advice of the Provincial Health Officer.
In the SLRD we are seeing increased traffic on our roadways, on the trails, in parks, in our communities and in the backcountry. This is expected in summer, but as most people are holidaying within B.C. we are seeing higher numbers than usual, even for this time of year.
The outbreak on Haida Gwaii is concerning for everyone, and that, along with the outbreaks in the Okanagan, should serve as a reminder of our vulnerability to this virus. Our First Nations neighbours are especially nervous about the virus and visitors to their communities, so we should recognize that and behave in a respectful manner.
Even as we have been invited by our Provincial Health Officer to slowly adjust the dial, cautiously expand our bubbles and move about a little more freely, we are being asked to do that in a way that keeps us, our loved ones and others safe.
If you’re travelling this summer, please, as the Provincial Health Officer has said, remember your travel manners, and be respectful of where you are going: check before you go, have fewer faces in bigger spaces, if you’re sick, stay home, wash your hands, keep apart, come prepared and respect travel advisories.
If you’re visiting a park or trail, be prepared – and keep your distance. If you’re dining at a restaurant, respect the rules that limit the size of parties, and don’t ask your server to bend the rules to accommodate you. If physically distancing isn’t an option, be sure to wear a mask.
And for all of us, let’s also endeavor to be kind, be calm and be safe.
Chair, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District