It’s been a long, long road through the COVID-19 pandemic, and Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok says he can see the toll it is taking on people.
“I can see the demeanour of Dr. Bonnie Henry. She’s changed. With the vaccine roll out in shambles, we’re in for a rough road. There’s a light, but it’s a long way down the tunnel.”
Clovechok says he knows that it’s affecting the mental health of his constituents too.
“It’s starting to take its toll. People are isolated. Frustrated. They don’t know what to believe. That’s why it’s so important for the federal and provincial governments to share as much information as they can, so we have the data.”
As for people concerned about inter-provincial travel, he knows that there is worry.
“It’s certainly become an issue,” he said. “I was opposed to travel bans when this first started. The number one issue is the safety and health of my constituents. Whether you’re from Alberta, Saskatchewan or B.C. we have to focus on doing our part.
“The Premier realizes he can’t stop it. We’ve asked people not to travel.”
One of the difficulties, Clovechok says, is the definition of “non-essential” travel is vague.
“Public Affairs Canada allows people to define non-essential travel themselves. But it means different things to different people.
“I’ve heard some people say skiing is good for my mental health and therefore travelling to ski is essential. I don’t happen to agree with that but I don’t judge either.”
Clovechok says there is no data to suggest that people from out of province are contributing in a major way to spreading COVID.
“When you look at the community outbreak in Revelstoke, the average age was 32. In Golden the cases were linked to two large family gatherings.
“In Revelstoke out of 59 cases, only seven were from outside of Revelstoke and only three of those were from out of province. It was all community spread — people doing what they shouldn’t.”
We just have to keep doing what we’ve been doing, no matter how difficult it is, he says.
“If you feel unwell, go get tested. It doesn’t cost anything. I encourage people to stay home.
“We can’t close the border and it’s difficult to police a 14 day quarantine. We expect you to play by the rules.”
For instance, he says it’s not the skiing that’s a problem, it’s how people are behaving after skiing.
“There’s no way to stop people from coming in, so practice what we’ve been doing. Don’t like wearing masks? Give your head a shake. Put the damn thing on. It’s not impeding your constitutional rights, it’s supporting your community.”
He also urges everyone to be calm and collected and not to judge others.
“But I do encourage those who are coming from out of province, think about it before you get in your car and come here.
“But don’t cast blame and shadow on others. The expectation is that visitors behave the way we do. Avoid pointing fingers. But if someone from out of province doesn’t follow the rules, I’d be the first to introduce you to local law enforcement.”