‘Worrying’ number of tourists from outside B.C. prompts Whistler doctor to call for travel ban

An emergency room physician in Whistler is asking on the B.C. authorities to limit journey from different provinces after seeing a “worrying” variety of sufferers from Ontario and Quebec over the vacations.

Dr. Annie Gareau, an emergency doctor at Whistler Well being Care Centre, instructed Radio-Canada she’s involved that an inflow of holiday makers from exterior the area may result in uncontrolled unfold of COVID-19, overwhelming the health-care system.

“We’ve a restricted capability. Our ready room is small, so undoubtedly at one cut-off date between Christmas and New Yr’s it was unsettling the quantity of sufferers that have been within the clinic,” she stated.

“I feel we have to do just like the Atlantic provinces did and I feel we have to prohibit inter-provincial journey till the numbers are taking place.”

A public well being advisory has been in place across B.C. since Nov. 19 cautioning in opposition to all non-essential journey. Provincial Well being Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has stated skiers ought to persist with their native slopes — for instance, individuals who dwell in Metro Vancouver ought to restrict themselves to the North Shore mountains.

Nonetheless, an advisory doesn’t have the authorized energy of a public well being order.

Reliance on private accountability

Some ski resorts have cancelled reservations from non-local guests in response to Henry’s recommendation, however a consultant of Vail Resorts, which owns Whistler Blackcomb, instructed CBC final month that it’s asking visitors to take “personal responsibility” for following public well being recommendation.

Little of that non-public accountability was obvious on the Whistler Well being Care Centre over the vacations in December, stated Gareau.

“I’d say the vast majority of sufferers that got here to the clinic between Christmas and New Yr weren’t Whistlerites. The bulk have been from the Decrease Mainland,” Gareau stated.

“After which — shocking and worrying — was lots of people from out of province, primarily Ontario and Quebec.”

Some residents of the Sea-to-Sky area are involved about an inflow of out-of-province guests to Whistler. (Eric Berger/Whistler Blackcomb)

In response to Tourism Whistler, folks from exterior of B.C. symbolize a bit greater than 10 per cent of in a single day guests up to now this season.

Each Ontario and Quebec are presently struggling to carry rampant COVID-19 transmission underneath management.

Ontario is implementing a stay-at-home order on Thursday and Premier Doug Ford has stated “the system is getting ready to collapse.” Quebec now has an 8 p.m. curfew for residents to forestall unfold of the illness.

‘We simply want to remain in our provinces’

Gareau’s considerations are shared by Maude Cyr, a resident of close by Pemberton, who stated she was shocked to come across a big group of vacationers from Quebec throughout a latest day of snowboarding at Whistler.

Cyr stated when she questioned them concerning the knowledge of travelling cross-country proper now, they instructed her B.C. has fewer circumstances than Quebec and is subsequently safer for them.

“It was laborious to say something,” she recalled.

Cyr worries concerning the stress these travellers are inflicting for individuals who work within the tourism business and do not need to carry COVID-19 house to their households and neighbours.

“I might wish to remind folks from different locations that small communities have small amenities and clinics, so if there’s an enlargement of circumstances right here, we’re in bother,” she stated.

“We simply want to remain in our provinces and revel in what we now have in our personal provinces.”

Her considerations come as one other B.C. ski resort neighborhood has seen important transmission of the novel coronavirus related to employees housing and events. As of Tuesday, a total of 162 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at Massive White Ski Resort close to Kelowna, in accordance with Inside Well being.

Representatives of the B.C. well being ministry have but to reply to requests for touch upon requires stricter journey rules.

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