Should she visit? Alberta woman receives mixed response after asking Okanagan residents about visitors - InfoNews

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Should she visit? Alberta woman receives mixed response after asking Okanagan residents about visitors

Shuswap Lake
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons
May 24, 2020 - 10:06 AM

An Alberta woman is asking for the Okanagan resident perspective on whether or not she’ll be welcome in the Interior this summer.

Every year, Edmonton resident April Barnes and her family visit the Okanagan for a vacation.

“I wanted to see how the people I was going to interact with were feeling, since tourism is a big thing, but being respectful and kind is also a big thing,” she said. “If I’m not welcome, I don’t want to come.”

This year, the family’s plan is to stay in the Shuswap at Salmon Arm Camping Resort in July, but that depends on the circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s the only vacation my family gets… a stay-cation is just not the same,” she said.

READ MORE: Three main types of hummingbird may be spotted at your feeder, says Okanagan birdwatcher

Since posting her question online in a Lake Country Facebook group, she said comments have been divided. Most people have been respectful, but she’s received a few nasty messages.

“There are a few people as far as I can tell that just don’t want Albertans,” she said. “ (But) I’ve gotten a lot of private messages… saying 'please come, our tourism needs it.’”

If she does decide to visit, she would respect the physical distancing measures in place, she said.

Officials are currently warning against cross-provincial travel between the B.C. and Alberta border with the exception of essential travel.

During her latest COVID-19 update, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said this summer if things go well, and B.C. residents are mindful of the potential for outbreaks, she will be encouraging B.C. residents to vacation in the province.

British Columbian residents are also given preferential access to this year’s camping season in support of COVID-19 initiatives to stay local and avoid unnecessary travel, a release from B.C. Parks said.

READ MORE: Escape the stress of a global pandemic by visiting a West Kelowna cabin in the woods

Non-B.C. residents with existing reservations should contact the call centre prior to June 15 for a full refund. Any reservations made by non-residents after the system reopens on May 25 may be subject to immediate cancellation.

READ MORE: Reservation system for campsites in B.C. Parks reopens Monday

Barnes noted that the Shuswap resort is private, and will be following physical distancing guidelines set out by the province.

She finally bought a paddleboard this year, and within the next week of her purchase everything had been closed due to the pandemic, she said.


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