Although a province-wide order from BC officials against all non-essential travel remains in effect, Sea to Sky RCMP said on Thursday they are still anticipating an increased number of people and vehicles in the region over the next few days.
In response, the department said it is working with its partner agencies “to create a collaborative approach to address unlawful activity, while providing education on the physical distancing guidance from our Public Health Officer.”
“Sea to Sky RCMP has a dedicated set of resources to focus on Impaired Driving, Liquor Infractions, and other Provincial Statutes,” the department said in a release. “We are also there to support our partners in their efforts regarding park closures, fire regulations, education, and other compliance and enforcement activities.”
“All agencies are coming together this weekend to have a larger presence at recreational and camping hubs to demonstrate the seriousness of the message – to please stay close to home,” said Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. “With a sunny long weekend ahead of us, I know this doesn’t feel natural, but the statistics across the globe speak for themselves.”
Elliot added that people “must stay the course and do the right thing for the health of our community and other British Columbians.”
As such, she is asking people to respect this request and stay close to their homes this weekend.
Doing so, she added, “means we get back to the activities we love much sooner.”
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On Thursday, Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry was asked if BC had any plans for a province-wide increase in enforcement on non-essential travel over the weekend such as police roadside checkpoints to help ensure compliance with the orders.
“No, we have not taken that approach,” she said. “We don’t intend to, and in most cases in Canada, we’re not using that approach.”
Rather, she said, “it’s much more about supporting people to do the right thing. I’m telling them what the right thing is, making sure they have the means to do the right thing, and as we have seen repeatedly, people do follow our advice around this.”
Henry said she expects people “will be taking that advice as well this weekend, and there will of course be the regular policing and public safety doing their thing.”
Ultimately, however, “we do not have specific enforcement around people travelling.”
For their part, Sea to Sky RCMP outlined some of the measures they intend to implement over the long weekend to ensure people are complying with the provincial orders. These measures include:
- Increased RCMP presence beginning on Thursday – including presence in backcountry, Crown Land, waterways, closed provincial and municipal parks, closed Municipal Parks, and on Whistler Blackcomb ski hill;
- Additional RCMP officers patrolling throughout the corridor over the weekend, focusing on areas from North of Pemberton to Lions Bay;
- Check Stops in high-volume areas;
- Driver and vehicle checks along the Sea to Sky Highway;