Advice for Travelers to the Southern Gulf Islands in the time of COVID-19
We miss you. And we know you love the Southern Gulf Islands as much as we do. Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Salt Spring and Saturna are looking forward to sharing their communities with you again once the Provincial Health Officer announces we can move into the next phase of local travel.
We are all in this together making the Southern Gulf Islands a healthy and safe place to visit. We need you to be part of the health and safety plan for our community. During your stay we will welcome you to make our home, your home. We need you to respect it and show as much care for it as we do.
Businesses are developing new safety plan policies and procedures in preparation for your visit. It’s not going to be business as usual. We want you to remember that the islands are year-round communities and remain very vulnerable. Many of our neighbours are at high risk. Our services are limited and our workforce to serve you is small.
When planning your visit to the Southern Gulf Islands, we recommend that you plan longer stays in one place to reduce your mobility and contact as much as possible. Here is a list of considerations to help you better understand our local values and concerns about the pandemic and our communities’ health and safety.
- If you are ill or have symptoms of illness, stay home and self-isolate.
- Keep a physical distance of 2 metres from everyone except those in your bubble.
- Respect all local signage and measures to ensure physical distancing in shared spaces
- Please understand that an above average portion of the residents of the Southern Gulf Island communities are vulnerable and that there are very limited local medical services.
- Support local businesses while you are in the Southern Gulf Island communities. Be kind, patient and understanding of the limitations within which businesses must operate. Restaurants, grocery stores, retail shops etc are experiencing the same reduced capacity as all businesses in BC.
- Plan around the fact that seasonal events including artisan markets are not happening this year. If this is your reason for visiting the Southern Gulf Islands, please consider visiting another time when these events are back on.
- Consider traveling with a mask and gloves, some businesses require patrons to use these protective measures to keep front line staff safe, and especially when physical distancing is not possible.
- BC Ferries are the life-lines to the islands. Follow their health and safety measures to ensure their crew stays healthy. Their safety protocols are here: https://www.bcferries.com/current_conditions/travel-advisory.html
- Check https://southerngulfislands.com/ for trip planning and travel updates to the Southern Gulf Islands.
We can do this if we all do our part!