Last long weekend, as we approached Easter, the message to people beyond our region was : STAY AWAY.
Officially, that language has softened. Taking the lead from Dr Bonnie Henry’s respectful tone, this weekend, people are being asked to be responsible, and considerate, and “stay local, stay apart, stay safe.”
In Thursday’s briefing, Dr Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer said, “We need to be cautious and careful as we’re moving into the next phase. We will be watching very carefully. And progressing slowly. It will take us the next 14 – 28 days to understand the impact of the measures we’ll be taking in the coming week.
This weekend, less travel, please.
Your path ahead is based on your personal circumstances. And your safety and those of your community is based on your actions.”
Minister Adrian Dix added, “If you can, avoid going to places like the Sunshine Coast. This is not the weekend to go.”
An update from Indigenous Services Canada on May 13 shared some of the stress being felt in First Nations communities at the prospect of hundreds of ‘wild campers’ descending on the remote beaches, forest service roads and riversides this weekend, as was glimpsed this past weekend.
Indigenous Services Canada has been working with other federal departments, like the Canadian Coast Guard and RCMP, to reinforce the message that now is not the time to go boating and visit small communities on the British Columbia coast.
BC’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has also stated that people need to stay away from First Nations communities this long weekend.
“I will also say we need to be very mindful of our Indigenous communities and First Nations communities in BC many of whom are understandably wanting to protect their own communities in ways that may seem different for us but it’s their decision and we need to support those decisions. So don’t think about going to a First Nations community unless you’re invited . And I think that’s something we need to be very sensitive to over the summer as well.”
It’s a tricky situation right now, with provincial parks in the Sea to Sky corridor not opening, pushing those looking for some outdoors time further and deeper into the region. While it feels more remote to them, it ironically pushes them closer and closer to First Nations communities – something it’s time we all learn to acknowledge more respectfully, with our actions.