FILE - A view from the water shows the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre. On Thursday, July 30, 2020, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced the decision to restrict non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii in response to the ongoing community outbreak of COVID-19. (Haida Gwaii Observer/File photo)

FILE - A view from the water shows the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre. On Thursday, July 30, 2020, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced the decision to restrict non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii in response to the ongoing community outbreak of COVID-19. (Haida Gwaii Observer/File photo)

Province restricts non-resident travel to Haida Gwaii amid COVID outbreak

Provincial staff will help enforce travel restrictions from islands, mainland

The province has restricted non-residents from travelling to Haida Gwaii to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak that has infected 20 islanders to date.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced the ministerial order on Thursday (July 30) under the state of provincial emergency.

According to the order, people who travel to Haida Gwaii must have documentation to establish that they are a resident or are travelling for an essential purpose.

Acceptable proof of residency includes government-issued identification with a Haida Gwaii address, a status card indicating Skidegate or Old Massett membership, or a signed declaration of residency.

Travel to the islands for delivery of essential goods and supplies, medical appointments, urgent or emergency family matters, or the provision of essential services will be subject to the approval of the unified command structure comprised of the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN), village councils and local governments.

“The Province, Northern Health and the First Nations Health Authority are working closely with the Haida Nation and local governments on Haida Gwaii to respond to this COVID-19 outbreak,” Farnworth said in a release. “Our foremost concern is the health and safety of all residents of Haida Gwaii, and we’re working together to limit further spread of COVID-19.”

READ MORE: COVID-19: No new cases on Haida Gwaii in past 24 hours

Provincial staff will also be deployed to help enforce the travel restriction.

A spokesperson for Emergency Management BC told the Observer that initially, provincial staff will be on hand at the Prince Rupert ferry terminal to support unified command in advising travellers of the order.

“Our focus continues to be on education, and ensuring the travelling public, whether by ferry, boat or plane, understands what this order means and why it is necessary,” the spokesperson said.

A BC Ferries service notice on July 31 also advised customers that provincial conservation officers were enforcing the order by screening passengers at the Prince Rupert terminal prior to all sailings to Haida Gwaii.

“Non-resident customers with bookings on sailings will be contacted by email with further details,” the notice said.

ALSO READ: Haida Gwaii COVID cases may be flown to mainland: health officials

In a separate release, the CHN said the travel restriction would be in place for the duration of the community outbreak, and the outbreak “is not likely to be declared over by the medical health officer until there have been no new COVID-19 positive cases confirmed for 28 consecutive days on Haida Gwaii.”

Haida Nation President Gaagwiis Jason Alsop said the restriction was an “important step toward a renewed partnership in emergency management.”

Billy Yovanovich and Duffy Edgars, chief councillors of the Skidegate Band Council and Old Massett Village Council, respectively, also said they were glad to hear the announcement.

“It will help our local efforts in controlling the outbreak of COVID-19,” Yovanovich said. “The order will be a reset button for our local governments on Haida Gwaii to commit to working together to free us all from this virus as soon as possible.”

As of July 29, there were 13 COVID-19 cases that were considered active on the islands and seven had recovered.

It’s believed the 20 cases are all linked to residents who travelled off-island or had contact with a resident who travelled off-island.

Do you have something we should report on? Email:
karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Most Read