If you have plans to visit the City of Powell River and the qathet Regional District, change them.

All visitors and second homeowners are being asked to stay away from the district, the city and Tla’amin Nation for the upcoming holidays. 

This travel advisory includes Savary, Lasqueti and Texada islands.

With B.C. in the grip of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry is encouraging everyone to follow public health orders and stay close to home this Christmas. 

“There are many small things that we can do that will get us through this,” Henry said. “We can find ways to do this safely that will protect the elders in our family. Yes, we can see them, but we can’t be together in the same way.”

Regional district chair Patrick Brabazon says our small and remote communities are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. 

“We understand the desire to leave large urban centres in order to physically distance yourself and to visit with families, however, such actions threaten the safety of our entire community,” Brabazon said. 

“In order to ensure everyone can celebrate the holidays, we strongly urge you to postpone travel plans to our region until further notice.”

The Tla’amin Nation was hit hard by COVID earlier this fall, with an outbreak of over 35 cases, prompting a State of Local Emergency Order. 

“Our roads remain closed to the general public with the exception of essential services and certified contractors in order to limit gatherings,” said Hegus John Hackett. 

“Gathering with family and friends that do not live with you greatly increases the chances of catching or spreading COVID-19.”

The district says its regional health care facilities rely on limited resources and are continuing to provide for those in need.

Powell River Mayor, Dave Formosa says the region cannot provide health services for a large influx of visitors. 

“Our health facilities need to focus on providing vital care to our local residents. By reducing travel and remaining home for the holidays, you can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect your family and friends.”