The mayor of Qualicum Beach expressed support for new provincial regulations, including mandatory masks in indoor public spaces and encouraged people not to travel to Oceanside.
Premier John Horgan said non-essential travel is prohibited in B.C. on Wednesday, but Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, did not include this as an order with new regulations this week.
“We are a tourist destination, we are a place to go, but sadly it’s time to say — we appreciate your support and would love to see you again, but not today,” said Mayor Brian Wiese.
Town council debated a motion to reinforce public health recommendations around masks just one day before Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the new orders.
“That’s what we wanted to get done and I applaud Minister Dix and Dr. Henry for making that happen. We are very lucky in Qualicum Beach, as the majority, high majority… That’s what they do now anyway,” said Mayor Brian Wiese.
Wiese said rising cases on Vancouver Island were not a surprise. He said many Canadians who normally go to the United States for winter have come to Vancouver Island because of the border closure.
The mayor said he welcomes people who are already here, but encouraged others to follow provincial orders and not travel to Oceanside at this time.
Central Vancouver Island currently has more active cases of COVID-19 than both the north and south regions and there have been potential exposure events in Qualicum Beach.
“Even if you are not scared, people around you are… Anytime you go to a public space in town, no options, get your mask on. We just need to get back on it. We can do this. I don’t want to see downtown shut down again. I don’t want that — I am not sure how many businesses can handle it,” Wiese said.