As Osoyoos’ busiest time of year approaches Mayor Sue McKortoff hopes that visitors will remain mindful of social distancing protocols amid COVID-19. Recent crowds and a spike of cases in the Okanagan has ignited concerns among some residents. (File photo)

As Osoyoos’ busiest time of year approaches Mayor Sue McKortoff hopes that visitors will remain mindful of social distancing protocols amid COVID-19. Recent crowds and a spike of cases in the Okanagan has ignited concerns among some residents. (File photo)

Mayor of Osoyoos urges social distancing ahead of busiest time of year

Residents have raised concerns regarding hotels and bars as town’s busiest time of year approaches

As tourism season ramps up in the South Okanagan, Osoyoos hotels are booked near capacity and concerns over social distancing are on the rise.

Hotels in Osoyoos are currently booked at 95 per cent capacity and the town’s mayor, Sue McKortoff expects more out-of-town traffic with the August long-weekend approaching.

“My concern is this weekend because the long-weekend in August is typically our busiest time,” said the mayor.

McKortoff is urging people to be a part of the solution rather than the problem. This comes after a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Kelowna was traced to private parties in the city in early July.

READ MORE: Ninety COVID-19 cases related to Kelowna cluster

McKortoff says she has not heard of any particular instances of overcrowded hotel parties, but she also hasn’t been to hotels to observe the crowds.

McKortoff has received a handful of complaints from concerned residents regarding overcrowded bars and shops. In this instance, she urges people to refrain from entering the establishments.

“I hope they turned around and went out and didn’t continue,” said the mayor. She also said the same message stands for hotel rooms.

B.C.’s top doctor, Dr. Bonnie Henry, issued a provincial health order July 27 limiting the number of guests and visitors in short-term vacation rental homes and houseboats control the size of parties. However, this does not apply to hotels.

READ MORE: B.C. sets limits on number of guests, visitors in vacation rentals, houseboats

WorkSafeBC and regional health authorities have rules in place to enforce social distancing, however Mckortoff urged all hotel, bar and shop owners to take responsibility for how many people are allowed in at once.

For the most part, McKortoff thinks establishments have been following the rules but she also knows that can’t be said for everyone.

“I don’t know what to do. Do we fine people? If we fine people that are not following the rules we can educate and suggest that they do but we can’t evict them or tell them to do something different, but I think that business owners would certainly have that right,” she said.

McKortoff said it comes down being respectful and caring of others. If people take a moment to think about the consequences of their actions it could prevent a lot of unsafe behaviour, she said.

“You have to look after yourself and protect yourself and that way you’re helping to protect the community… I have not heard of any wild times at hotels but my goodness I certainly hope there aren’t.”



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Teslyn Bates, a Grade 11 student at Salmon Arm Secondary, was among four musicians from the Shuswap who won awards at the 2021 Virtual Performing Arts BC Festival held June 1-5. (Contributed)
Province takes note of young Shuswap musicians at June festival

Four local contestants receive awards at 2021 Virtual Performing Arts BC Festival

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans to hold a vigil on Friday, June 25 at 8 p.m. to honour the victims of what officials are calling a terrorist attack on five Muslims in London, Ont. (File photo)
Salmon Arm council holds minute of silence to honour victims of Ontario attack

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans vigil for Muslim family on June 25, 8 p.m. at McGuire Lake

A first-dose mobile vaccination clinic is being held on Tuesday, June 15 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Salmon Arm fairgrounds, west entrance across from spray park. (Interior Health image)
Location for Salmon Arm’s June 15 COVID-19 mobile vaccine clinic changes slightly

Immunization clinic still at fairgrounds but people attending asked to use different entrance

Felix Haase and Jayme Saretzky staff a pop-up booth to support the Salmon Arm Pride Project on the patio of the newly reopened Wild Craft Mercantile at 121 Shuswap St. on Saturday, June 12, 2021. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Wild Craft Mercantile in Salmon Arm holds grand reopening, celebrates Pride month

Store moves from Lakeshore to Shuswap, demonstrates support for Pride project

Tim Gibson joined the Shuswap Children’s Association on June 14, 2021. He is taking over the executive director position as June Stewart is retiring on June 30, 2021. (File photo)
New executive director joins Shuswap Children’s Association

Outgoing executive director June Stewart to retire on June 30, 2021

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-month-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

Vernon Elks Lodge secretary-treasurer Maureen Sather says special relief funding for the organization courtesy of Community Futures North Okanagan has been just that: a relief. (Photo submitted)
Zero funding for Vernon Elks club

Once-in-100-years grant denied after back and forth with city for support

Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor have been living the van life for four years and they've detailed the first year of their adventures in a new book. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Okanagan couple details first year of van life in new book

Lyndsay Fillier and Braden Taylor have been living the van life for four years

A young child was taken to hospital after being struck by a vehicle on 30th Avenue in Vernon Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Child OK after being hit by car in Vernon

Father says daughter was back home by supper time

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Children’s shoes and flowers are shown after being placed outside the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario commits $10 million to investigate burial sites at residential schools

Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified 12 locations of unmarked burial sites in Ontario

Two hundred and fifteen lights are placed on the lawn outside the Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., Saturday, June, 13, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Days after Kamloops remains discovery, Tk’emlups families gather to unite, move ahead

‘We have to work together because this is going to be setting a precedent for the rest of the country’

Most Read