Sunday, October 1, 2023

COVID-19: East Kootenay MLA calls for inter-provincial travel restrictions

Travel could be heavily restricted between Alberta and British Columbia if one regional district just across the border gets its way.

Last week, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) held a meeting and heard from the area’s MLA, Tom Shypitka.

He wants BC’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry to consider implementing inter-provincial travel restrictions to protect East Kootenay communities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Shypitka specifically points to the upcoming Easter weekend and out-of-town visitors who usually flock to the region.

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“This isn’t about people coming in across the border,” says Shypitka. “We’re receptive to the fact that we love our Albertan neighbours and we rely on them to a large degree for a lot of things, but it’s not the people we’re opposed to, it’s the cause and effect from the trans-migratory travel that’s going to be deadly for us.”

The RDEK has since approved and sent off a letter to Dr. Henry “requesting that additional measures, such as closure of Provincial borders to non-essential traffic” be considered.

There is also concern about the health care system in the East Kootenays, the strain on emergency services, essential services and grocery stores which may not be fully equipped to handle a large influx of people.

(Files from Bradley Jones,

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