The barriers to Harrison Hot Springs’ main stretch and beach came down down in time for the long Victoria Day weekend. However, the village isn’t in the full summer swing yet.
In his weekly statement released Friday (May 16), Mayor Leo Facio said bylaw enforcement officers and local RCMP will be on duty as they expect visitors to come to the village as holiday weekends typically draw more traffic, even with COVID-19 restrictions in place and though visitors have not yet been formally welcomed back.
“This long weekend, bylaw enforcement officers will be on duty to support provincial health orders and remind visitors about safety precautions,” Facio said. “RCMP will also be on patrol. I’ve spoken with the RCMP regarding vehicles speeding on Hot Springs Road and Lilooet Avenue and we expect to see more enforcement in these areas.”
Street barricades were moved, public washrooms reopened. The public boat launch parking lot was reopened as was Esplanade Avenue.
“This will help relieve congestion from boat trailers parked on streets,” Facio stated. “For the time being, children’s playground areas and other recreational amenities will remain closed.”
The mayor expressed pride in the way villagers have heeded medical orders and looked after each other as the pandemic transitions into a more recovery-oriented phase.
“B.C. is a world leader in how we have dealt with this pandemic, and the results are impressive,” Facio stated. “The medical system is getting back to normal and people are regaining confidence in visiting the hospital for medical issues unrelated to COVID-19.”
Though restrictions are starting to ease thanks in large part to the overall provincial population following provincial medical orders, Facio stresses the need for continued caution.
“We must still continue to be cautious and vigilant to protect ourselves and others,” Facio wrote. “This is our new normal and will be for some time. [Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry] suggests that small group gatherings are fine, providing physical distancing is practiced. We’re all responsible to look after one another and assist our neighbours who may need help in their daily lives.”
Facio reminded villagers the message to stay home and not travel for non-essential activities hasn’t changed across the province, yet Dr. Henry has also encouraged getting fresh air locally as it’s good for the body and mind.
“People will be coming to places like ours for outdoor activities,” Facio stated. “If you feel uncomfortable going out when there are lots of people in the village, choose times to go out that suit you outside of peak visitor hours.”
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.