Whistler, Squamish tell visitors to stay away amid coronavirus pandemic

Two of B.C.’s most popular tourist destinations are telling visitors to stay away during the coronavirus pandemic.

Both Whistler and Squamish issued notices Sunday urging tourists to “please stay at home for now,” noting people were continuing to gather in large groups and visit attractions in droves over the weekend — counter to the province’s social distancing guidelines.

“The health of our residents in all our communities is at stake — not just Squamish, but the North Shore and the Lower Mainland too,” District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott said in a statement.

“This is not a joke, and it’s not an extended holiday. You must stay home as much as possible and be responsible, today. Our health-care system depends on it.”

Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton agreed in his own statement issued not long after Elliot’s.

“Social distancing measures are not optional,” he said. “The Prime Minister has said many times recently that everyone needs to stay home and we all need to follow that direction.”

Health officials across Canada have been urging people to stay at least two metres apart from each other at all times to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and to stay home as much as possible.

B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has ordered all public gatherings to be limited to 50 people or under.

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