New Provincial Restrictions Announced to Help Save Our Summer
Current Information as of April 23, 2021
Today, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth provided additional detail of increased travel restrictions for non-essential travel in BC through May 25th announced last Monday by BC Premier John Horgan, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
The expansion to the previous travel advisory through the implementation of Ministerial Order No. M1721 is aimed at reducing the rapid spread of COVID-19 and variants of concern by focusing on restricting the movement of people into and within the province. British Columbians are asked to stay local and stay in your community. Do not travel for non-essential reasons.
The Order combines British Columbia’s five health authorities into three regions of the province. Travel into and out of the regions for non-essential reasons is not allowed and is now regulated by law. The regions are:
1. Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health)
2. Northern/Interior (Northern Health and Interior Health, including Bella Coola Valley, the Central Coast and Hope)
A. Residents from the Hope area can travel to Chilliwack for essential goods and supplies
B. Residents from the Bella Coola Valley and Central Coast area can travel to Port Hardy for essential goods and supplies
3. Vancouver Island (Vancouver Island Health)
The Order will be in effect from April 23 through May 25, 2021 and applies to everyone in the province, including non-essential travellers from outside the province. If the travel restrictions need to be enforced through periodic road checks, police can issue a fine of $575 at their discretion. Police will not be doing random checks.
- Tourism operators, including golf courses, have been asked to voluntarily refuse new reservations from customers outside their regional zones and cancelling existing bookings from outside their regional zones until after the May long weekend at midnight May 25th;
- BC Ferries will restrict non-essential vehicle passage, deter non-essential bookings and limit sailings;
- BC Parks will inform the public about restrictions and refund bookings where necessary;
- The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure will increase signage posted at the BC-Alberta border reminding residents to avoid non-essential travel;
- The “Circuit Breaker” restrictions affecting indoor dining at golf courses have been extended and will remain in effect until at least May 25th;
BC government relief programs will also be extended for this period;
- Golf (Tournaments) have been included in Group Sports restrictions;
- And as a reminder, a maximum of 10 people may engage in outdoor sports with one another.
How British Columbians collectively act today, and over the next five weeks, will impact whether travel will be possible this summer and whether further restrictions are required. Dr. Henry indicated in announcing the extension of restrictions that the province of British Columbia will have vaccinated 60% of all adults and the protection will be high enough to ‘save the summer’. Premier Horgan noted that the new rules are not designed to put more stress on struggling tourism operators and that the government will continue to work collaboratively with the sector.
Resources to Help Golf Course Operators:
In anticipation of this announcement, Destination BC, Tourism Industry Association of BC, BC Hotel Association and Indigenous Tourism BC have developed a Communications Toolkit that includes key messaging, a Q & A and other resources to help the tourism industry handle these restrictions.
Sample Golf Course Messaging
Current Travel Restrictions – Official BC Government Page
Current PHO Advisories and Orders
AGA-BC’s COVID-19 Resource Page
AGA-BC’s How to Golf Responsibly Guide
AGA-BC’s Best Practices Manual for BC Golf Operations Amidst COVID-19