COVID-19 restrictions raise questions for Osoyoos Lake pleasure boaters - InfoNews

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COVID-19 restrictions raise questions for Osoyoos Lake pleasure boaters

Boaters on Osoyoos Lake are being urged by first responders to follow COVID-19 protocols and avoid unnecessary travel on the lake during the COVID-19 crisis.
Image Credit: Contributed/Neil Bousquet
May 11, 2020 - 3:41 PM

Emergency officials in Osoyoos would prefer you didn't come to the community for pleasure boating on Osoyoos Lake.

“When it comes to non-essential travel, whether it be by car of boat, Osoyoos RCMP and Osoyoos Fire Rescue have a simple message, ‘We all must do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Follow all public health advisories and guidelines,'" fire chief Dave McMahon says in a media release issued today, May 11.

McMahon and Osoyoos RCMP detachment command Sgt. Jason Bayda issued the joint media release saying they have been fielding questions about pleasure boating on Osoyoos Lake for the last couple of weeks as many look for alternative activities to enjoy while practising social distancing.

McMahon says even though pleasure boating is permitted, the chance of an emergency becomes real when someone is on the water.

“While it may be permitted, we ask that you consider the risks you are putting our first responders in. Avoid non-essential boating, stay close to home to save lives,” he says.

Boaters who have contracted COVID-19 and need to be rescued could potentially pass the virus on to first responders which would then prevent them from responding to other emergencies.

“There is a temporary restriction on all non-essential travel, including tourism and recreation at the Canada-U.S. border, including via international waters,” Sgt. Jason Bayda says in the release.

He reminds pleasure boaters they are currently not permitted to cross the international border on Osoyoos Lake.

"We agree with the provincial health officer's recommendation to stay home and stay safe. We look forward to welcoming visitors back to our community when it is safe to do so," Mayor Sue McKortoff says in the release.

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