|Our hearts go out to communities and First Nations across British Columbia who have been impacted by heavy rain and flooding.
On November 17, the BC government declared a provincial state of emergency to mitigate impacts on transportation networks and movement of essential goods and supplies, and to support the provincewide response and recovery from the widespread damage caused by severe flooding and landslides in British Columbia.
The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days and may be extended or rescinded as necessary. Supports for businesses impacted by disasters are available from the federal and provincial governments, community organizations and the private sector.
British Columbians are currently being asked to avoid any unnecessary travel as crews are working hard to get people and supply chains moving on the affected highways and roads. The Emergency Preparedness page is a repository of official, reputable sources of information that you use to prepare and respond to emergencies. The page includes @DriveBC on Twitter, for the latest information on delays and road closures, and the Emergency Info BC website, for details on the current flooding advisory and local guidance for affected areas.
Destination BC’s Know Before You Go page on HelloBC.com also includes key information resources for travellers and tourism businesses.
The Emergency Preparedness page also includes information from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) confirming that, given the current situation in BC, travellers who must transit through the United States to get to their residence in Canada are exempt from the COVID-19 pre-arrival test, the test in Canada, and quarantine requirements. Visit the Emergency Preparedness page for more information on pre-existing exemptions which can be applied to travellers in certain situations.
As a tourism partner and/or tourism business owner, here’s what you can do:
– Share these resources with your staff and follow key social media accounts for the latest news. You can find them listed on Destination BC’s Emergency Preparedness page.
– Communicate with fellow businesses and neighbours in your community, share official information with them too, and offer assistance if you can. Look after your community and take care of your neighbours.
– Help your guests: If your business is located in an impacted area, provide your current customers and future reservations with regular updates, by directing them to official information sources. Keep in mind that visitors are not often aware that conditions in BC can change rapidly, so we need to encourage them to check the latest, on-the-ground information before and during their trip so they can make informed travel decisions. If your business is not impacted directly, help your current guests plan the rest of their trip to areas that are safe and open for business (your local visitor centre has a wealth of information on places to stay and things to do). Also, be proactive with future reservations—let your customers know it’s business as usual and you are looking forward to hosting them. BC is a very large province and sometimes our out-of-province guests (or even our own residents) don’t consider the vast geography of our province.
– Have a plan—use the PreparedBC: Tourism Resources to prepare for emergencies and to identify potential hazards. Individuals can also help by volunteering. Emergency Support Services is a provincial program for local authorities and Indigenous governments to deliver services to the public in an emergency. They often depend on volunteers to coordinate these services for people forced from their homes because of an emergency. Learn more by visiting the Province’s Emergency Support Services (ESS) Volunteer page.