Please, don't come to Whistler 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY WILLOWPIX/GETTY IMAGES
  • Photo by Willowpix/Getty Images

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would be writing and begging people not to come to Whistler.

After all, we are a resort that prides itself on hosting guests and offering a getaway experience that's second to none.

But these are extreme times and they call for extreme messaging as we all do our part to halt the spread of COVID-19. We are seeing a glimmer of hope this week, as hospitalizations of those suffering from the virus are stabilizing in B.C., but that in no way means we can all head out to the parks together in the coming days.

This is Easter weekend, yes. And it looks like great weather—BUT WE MUST STAY CLOSE TO HOME AND ONLY GO OUT WITH OUR FAMILY GROUPS WHILE PHYSICALLY DISTANCING OURSELVES FROM OTHERS.

I truly understand that we need to get out and get fresh air. And it's OK to do so in our household groups. But be mindful of others.

Some municipalities are actually making their community trails and paths one-way. That might be something we could consider for, say, the Whistler Golf Club loop, a very popular route these days, and one where we all seem to meet countless friends. That way, users wouldn't stop to chat on either side of the trail while others have to steer their way through the middle of the conversation, which has users navigating way less than two metres of space.

The District of Squamish, which is drawing hundreds of visitors from the Lower Mainland each weekend, is desperately searching for a solution for the number of people who are ignoring the provincial government's directive not to travel.

It is lobbying government and asking its residents to reach out to do the same to share their concerns.

Whistler is part of this messaging and, to enforce it, will have both bylaw and RCMP officers out and about. Those who don't follow the direction of bylaw can be fined $500.

For weeks, the electronic sign boards on Highway 99 have been telling people not to travel—are we honestly going to have to have police stopping people on roads, in parks, at trailheads checking up on us?

Is that the kind of society we want to live in?

Even our Whistler Health Care Centre is asking people to stay home. It is preparing for serious COVID-19 cases while it looks after the health of our resident population. It doesn't need to be using its resources to help those from outside of Whistler who need medical attention.

This is not about closing our borders or being uncaring. This is about fighting a pandemic. That is what should be top of mind.

Let's be frank here. We are all going a little crazy under the shelter-at-home regulations and we all want our resort to get back to normal as quickly as possible, but staying away from each other is the only way to get there until we have a vaccine (and that is many months away), or we get the infection rate to a place where one patient is infecting, mathematically, less than one other person—not the 2.5 we see currently.

For ourselves, we need to look to those around us and lend a hand. Check with your neighbours by phone or from the bottom of the driveway and see how they are doing. If it is your shopping day—think about shopping at a different store each week so we can support them all. Ordering out for dinner or lunch, again, try to choose a different eatery each time—and maybe even one of those partnering with the food bank.

Shop local first for whatever you can. I know that TMC Freeriderz has bandanas online for sale and will even deliver—why not make a facemask with them and help a local business? There are so many examples of our businesses being creative.

We've got to help them out if we can. A recent Insights West survey of nearly 600 businesses found that 31 per cent of owners fear they won't recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

A Canadian Federation of Business survey of 11,000 businesses at the end of last month found the COVID-19 outbreak is quickly becoming a disaster for small businesses. It found that a full 60 per cent of small firms have seen a significant drop in sales, with more than one in three reporting a reduction greater than 75 per cent.

And Pique is no different. We are fighting to remain your community newspaper, a trusted source of information on COVID, but so much more. Please consider supporting us as well.

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