BC Beach Town Set Up A 'Checkpoint' With RCMP & Asked Tourists To Turn Around
No matter how many times people are told to social distance, some still think it's a grand idea to hit the beach. Creatively, a popular tourist site set up a COVID-19 "checkpoint" in B.C. to politely turn visitors away. Even though police aren't allowed to use force, the power of manners prevailed.
Island communities in the province have asked tourists to stay away. But the siren song of an Easter long weekend was too much to resist for some travellers.
So they settled for more drastic measures. Just beyond the junction between Ucluelet and Tofino*, two popular places for tourists, a "checkpoint" of sorts was created. It was filled with info for tourists and manned by both the RCMP and Parks Canada.
Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne told News1130 that drivers were stopped and asked where they were going.
She later tweeted that most of the people they stopped were "residents & essential workers."
However, they also got tourists, people going to their second homes, and some who were "out for a drive." Officers politely explained that there was a massive pandemic going on and they should have stayed home.
And besides, the national and provincial parks were closed. So were the accommodation operators, as it turns out. For most visitors, the tactic actually worked.
Assistance provided by RCMP & Parks Canada today is really helping! Vast majority of incoming traffic is residents… https://t.co/2phK9XNhBp— Josie Osborne (@Josie Osborne) 1586558278.0
"A couple of cars 'out for a drive' listened, understood, turned around, went home. Thank you!" wrote Osborne on her Twitter.
This worked out great because the officers had no actual legal power to stop visitors from coming in.
To be clear, the RCMP and Park Wardens provided information, they did not screen or force anyone to turn around. We… https://t.co/kUjsaBMRI8— Josie Osborne (@Josie Osborne) 1586571528.0
Much like other tourist hotspots across the country, B.C.'s island towns are at risk for attracting flocks of tourists and travellers.
"Now is not the time to travel for tourism or recreation purposes," reads a statement co-signed by eight West Coast Communities on Thursday, April 9.
"Now is not the time for a surfing, fishing or camping trip."
people really drove all the way to tofino/uculet today planning on spending their weekend in pacific rim NATIONAL… https://t.co/aLiSF2I3sd— hayleys bestie reebs (@hayleys bestie reebs) 1586650116.0
Smaller communities are at greater risk of COVID-19, giving their typically lower amounts of medical resources and small populations. Unfortunately, they also attract visitors from all over.
In times like these, perhaps it's best to listen to the experts and stay indoors.*This article has been updated.