The cancellation of the Sidney Street Market, here seen in 2019, will likely hurt local tourism. Sidney council Tuesday approved messaging which says Sidney is “excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits to our community.” (Black Press Media File)

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

Please come to Sidney, but follow local and provincial public health rules.

That is the core of the message aimed at tourists that Sidney council approved Tuesday afternoon, now to be shared through tourism agencies and associations as well as the municipality’s website and social media channels.

Council made that decision after receiving a report from Alison Verhagen, senior manager of current planning and recovery director, following a meeting of the municipality’s recovery task force.

“Providing a consistent message on how Sidney is welcoming visitors at this time in the pandemic would be beneficial to ensure potential [travellers] are receiving consistent guidance for their time in Sidney,” she said in her report.

Councillors took up the issue against the backdrop of British Columbia having entered what the provincial government calls Phase 3 of its Restart Plan. It permits tourism and travel within the province among other provisions. As such, it opens the door to two potentially competing developments: increased and much-needed economic activity through tourism – a considerable aspect of the local economy, already reeling from the cancellation of major draws like the Sidney Street Market – but also the spread of COVID-19.

RELATED: Sidney cancels popular outdoor market

Sidney’s messaging aims to reconcile these threads by noting that the community is “excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits to our community.”

Travellers to Sidney from B.C. or other provinces and territories are expected to follow the same travel guidelines in showing respect to all local residents, businesses, and the community-at-large.

The messaging calls on visitors to follow posted signage around the community in keeping an eye out for physical distancing guidance and safety procedures put in place by businesses and local attractions to help keep staff and patrons safe.

Individuals with symptoms associated with COVID-19 or who have been in contact with known cases, are asked to postpone their visit.

The messaging also addresses the subject of international travel. “The Canadian border remains closed for recreational tourism,” reads the message. “International visitors are asked to dream now and explore B.C. later when the time is right. While the border remains open for essential travel purposes, anyone who arrives from outside of Canada must quarantine for 14 days.”

The status of the border is no small issue for a community with a ferry terminal that has been connecting Canada with the United States for decades. While Washington State Ferries had planned to resume its route between Sidney and Anacortes, Wash. on March 29, it has remained closed since March 17.

The smallest route in Washington state’s ferry system in terms of numbers, with 115,836 passengers in 2019 (or 0.5 per cent of the system’s total passengers), it is nonetheless of considerable economic importance for the Town of Sidney specifically and Greater Victoria generally, by serving as a service point for arriving and departing travellers.

As for the U.S.-Canada border generally, it remains closed for non-essential at least until July 21, having first shut down on March 21.

Council adopted staff’s proposed messaging with minor amendments by including language that captures the federal government’s extension of the Quarantine Act until Aug. 31.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

Saanich police search for suspect accused of using stolen credit, debit cards

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers says suspect made numerous fraudulent purchases

Homeless woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs to Victoria police officer

Officer paid $20 for a substance consisting of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine

Family restaurant to hold Saturday fundraiser for Beirut blast

Wrap and Roll will donate all sales to victims of blast

Police looking for witnesses of alleged assault in Burnside Gorge’s Cecila Ravine

Concerned woman pushed to the ground, had phone broken while taking a photo of a dog

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Most Read