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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

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

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read