Shuswap businesses dependent on tourism are bracing for further details of travel restrictions expected to be announced by Friday, April 23. ( Jim Elliot-Eagle Valley News)

Shuswap businesses dependent on tourism are bracing for further details of travel restrictions expected to be announced by Friday, April 23. ( Jim Elliot-Eagle Valley News)

B.C. travel restrictions create uncertainty among North Okanagan-Shuswap businesses

Sicamous mayor to ramp up campaign against licence plate hate

Sacrificing spring to save the summer has spurred mixed feelings among those in the tourism industry in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.

On Monday, April 19, B.C. Premier John Horgan said regulations were on the way to limit travel within the province while clamping down on non-essential travellers from Alberta until after the May long weekend – considered among Shuswap businesses as the kick-off to summer.

Kim Karampelas, owner of the Sea-Dog Rentals operation at the end of Salmon Arm’s Marine Park wharf, is encouraging customers not to cancel their summer bookings, hoping the restrictions will be lifted as stated after the Victoria Day weekend.

“Eighty per cent of my people are from out of province, especially from Alberta…,” said Karampelas.

The travel restrictions, included with the announcement that existing restrictions along with those prohibiting indoor dining at restaurants were being extended for another five weeks, are intended to get a handle on COVID-19 numbers before the summer.

“We require serious measures if we’re going to get to the May long weekend and salvage our summer,” said Horgan.

According to the province, campground and other tourism accommodation operators agreed to refuse bookings from out-of-region customers until after the May long weekend. B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Tuesday that a more detailed plan was expected later in the week.

Amy Nunn, director of sales and marketing with Kelowna-based Prestige Hotels and Resorts, said they were not taking any actions until they receive further information from the province. Nunn said prior to the Monday announcement, the Okanagan in general was ramping up for a promising summer

“We’re expecting July and August to be very busy,” said Nunn. “I think the feeling among our industry with these new announcements… is that they are doing them to help save the summer for the tourism industry, they’re trying to clamp down now for the next five or six weeks so that we can have a successful July and August. If that’s what it takes, we’re happy to oblige.”

Ashley Olsen, general manager with the Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Salmon Arm and Vernon, said they were also awaiting further guidance from the province, with the hope it will outline the legal obligations tourism operators have with respect to the new restrictions. She noted they have already processed a number of cancellations for reservations from travellers outside of the Interior Health region, including the Lower Mainland and Alberta.

Read more: Patio pivot offers some reprieve amid restrictions for Salmon Arm restaurateurs

Read more: B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

“We hope this five-week measure will help turn things around, but we do expect a very challenging summer ahead,” said Olsen in an email to the Observer, adding that while they have not had to reduce staffing, “hotels will only be able to bear so much before they are impacted to the same degree that restaurants have been.”

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz said he feels for Shuswap tourism businesses impacted by the travel restrictions. He said the economic impact of the restrictions will be concerning because of the major role tourism plays for Sicamous and the region, but stressed provincial regulations must be followed.

Despite the challenges, Rysz said he hoped late May or June will bring a return to normality, and he thinks Sicamous is in a good position thanks to the early vaccination clinic the district received.

He also expressed concern about a return of the animosity between some locals in B.C. towns and people with Alberta licence plates. He advocated for a return of the “We’re people not plates” campaign he pushed for last summer in an effort to stop incidents of harassment and damage to vehicles displaying out-of-province licence plates.


lachlan@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

General

travel

 

Shuswap businesses dependent on tourism are bracing for further details of travel restrictions expected to be announced by Friday, April 23. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap businesses dependent on tourism are bracing for further details of travel restrictions expected to be announced by Friday, April 23. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

A thief or thieves broke into a kitchen at the grandstands at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds recently, destroying a door apparently with the intention of stealing copper. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Man found sleeping amidst damage on Salmon Arm fairgrounds

Agricultural association dismayed by vandalism, thefts in kitchen, dance studio

Quinn, left, and Adrian Van de Mosselaer are going through UBCO’s nursing program together after Quinn encouraged his brother to go back to school. (UBC Okanagan/Contributed)
UBC Okanagan student transitions from professional hockey to nursing

Adrian Van de Mosselaer credits his younger brother for the push to get him back to learning

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Letter writer concerned there was a lack of notice by School District 83 regarding the May 12 board meeting on the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan. Discussion at the meeting is expected to focus on Salmon Arm schools, including the J.L. Jackson campus. (Google maps image)
Letter: Public provided little notice on Salmon Arm school facilities meeting

Writer questions what constitutes proper communication

School District 83 trustees host a special meeting on Wednesday, May 12, to once again discuss the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan. (File photo)
School trustees host special meeting to tackle Salmon Arm facilities

Afternoon online meeting planned for Wednesday, May 12

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

The City of Vernon is taking a close look at six high-priority Okanagan Lake access points, including three sites along Tronson Road (pictured above) in May 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon council looking closely at Okanagan Lake access points

Six access points have been identified as ideal for recreation

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Police working to identify the two bodies found in South Okanagan

The area will see higher police presence ahead of a forensic examination

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
More than 40% of Central Okanagan residents have received 1st vaccine dose

Local clinics have administered 81,247 first doses to Central Okanagan residents

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Most Read