Dear Accommodation Community and Stakeholders,

While we have all been hopeful that increased vaccinations would help curtail the transmission of COVID-19, the alarming rise in case numbers has made it clear that we have reached a critical point in our province's fight against the virus.

This afternoon, Premier John Horgan, along with Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced new enforcements of the travel advisory and signaled intent to restrict non-essential travel under our Provincial State of Emergency. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is drafting these orders which will aim to reduce the movement of people and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The order will come into effect on Friday, April 23rd and we anticipate that it will last through the May long weekend, restricting non-essential travel within regional health authorities.

Additional key announcements outlined in today's press conference include:
  • Current 'Circuit Breaker' restrictions on indoor dining and other activities will be extended to the May long weekend to address the rapid spread of COVID-19 and the strain that the virus is causing on our healthcare system.
  • Access to the government support for affected businesses has been extended.
  • Tourism businesses are being asked to voluntarily refuse service from customers outside their health region.
  • BC Ferries will be refusing all reservations for RVs and campers.
  • The BC Government will be putting signs along the Alberta border telling travellers to not travel into BC unless for essential purposes.
  • With the arrival of new orders, random audits of travellers will be made to make sure people are complying with rules.

Discouraging travel is, of course, the antithesis of tourism and hospitality. Over the course of this past year, each of you have proven your cooperation in abiding public health orders, working tirelessly to protect the safety of your guests, staff and communities across BC. Continuously though, we have been burdened by irresponsible individual behaviour that continues to drive the spread of COVID-19. We hear your frustrations.

Despite our industry's best efforts, we have reached a critical stage in our fight against COVID-19 and we desperately need to get our numbers under control to both support the safety of British Columbians, and to save our summer.

As a result of the devastation experience over this part year, a significant amount of our accommodators will be entirely dependent on the upcoming summer season to remain solvent. This is why it is critical that we do all that we can over the next five weeks to ensure we see a domestic travel summer.

Over this weekend, the British Columbia Hotel Association and our partner associations ― TIABC, Indigenous Tourism BC and Destination BC ― engaged in important work, submitting a plan to the Provincial Government to address our industry's path forward, with support and guidance from our Board of Directors. With the additional aim of identifying a reopening plan and securing much-needed financial aid to repair our sector, our organizations worked together to detail how our industries can support these new measures.

Over the coming days, we will continue to work alongside our partner organizations and the government to identify what today's announcement will mean for you in terms of the immediate future, and long-term recovery.

We understand supporting travel restrictions may seem counter-intuitive, but at this critical stage, we all need to do our part to save our summer and protect our communities.

Stay safe and stay well,

Ingrid Jarrett
BCHA President & CEO