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Stay local, postpone day trips and overnight visits, says Whistler Mayor ahead of May long weekend

'Many businesses, restaurants and attractions in Whistler are temporarily closed until after May 25,' Crompton adds
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Officials are hoping Whistler Village remains relatively quiet during the upcoming holiday weekend. On Tuesday, Mayor Jack Crompton asked residents to stay local and visitors to postpone their trips as COVID-19 travel restrictions persist. Photo by Braden Dupuis
Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton is urging prospective vacationers to stay home during the upcoming holiday weekend. 
"With the May long weekend approaching, the RMOW is reminding residents to stay local, and potential visitors to postpone day trips and overnight stays in Whistler until after the May long weekend," Crompton said during a Resort Municipality of Whistler council meeting on Tuesday, May 18. 

"Many businesses, restaurants and attractions in Whistler are temporarily closed until after May 25," he continued. "Whistler’s parks are currently undergoing preparations in order to welcome visitors during the summer months, and not all park services are yet available."

B.C.'s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth on April 23 announced a travel ban aimed at discouraging British Columbians from making any non-essential trips outside of their home communities, in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. For several weeks, BC RCMP have been enforcing the order at road checks set up between the three regional zones: Vancouver Island, Northern/Interior, and Vancouver Coastal/Fraser Health. Those who contravene the order could be subject to a $575 fine

Although Whistler falls into the same region as Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland residents are still advised against travelling up the Sea to Sky highway for any reason not included in the provincial government's list of reasonable exemptions to the ban

The order is scheduled to expire at 12:01 a.m. on May 25, following the Victoria Day long weekend. 

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters on Monday, May 17 that despite B.C.'s rising vaccination rates and falling COVID-19 numbers, it is still too early to make any significant changes to existing health measures. When officials do decide to lift restrictions, they will be eased gradually rather than all at once, she added. 

"Whether there's going to be a fourth wave—we know that this virus takes advantage anytime we give people who are susceptible the means to be transmitted," she said.

"We're starting to see our curve come down, even as more and more people are protected through vaccination. But all bets are off if things change."

As such, Crompton reminded the many Whistler locals who will be spending the holiday weekend at home this year that Whistler's annual Great Outdoors Festival, or GO Fest, is moving online for 2021. In a effort to bring the festival's popular activities to everyone, "many of the activities and workshops will be free and accessible any time throughout the weekend making it easy to incorporate it into your long weekend," he explained. 

- With files from Elana Shepert