British Columbians hit the road despite long weekend health warnings

Despite a plea from health officials for people to stick to their own communities this Easter long weekend, ferry terminals, highways and float plane companies were busy Friday as people rushed out of town.

“We’re actually going to Gambier Island," said one member of a family of four as they prepared to leave from Horseshoe Bay. 

"It's a very private camp," added another.

According to provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the risk of contracting COVID-19 in British Columbia is greater now that at any other time in the pandemic so far.

"This is not the time for any of us to be travelling for leisure or vacation or getaways outside of our community,” Henry said at a Thursday news conference. “Travel is still very high-risk for all of us."

Float plane passengers boarding flights in Coal Harbour were reluctant to talk, declining requests as they prepared to take off for Salt Spring Island, Victoria and Tofino.

Despite the dire warnings and a week that saw B.C. break its record for daily new cases twice, pandemic fatigue seems to be very real for some.

“I’m sure everyone’s tired of having to wear masks and not being able to party or hang out and have dinners with family, right?” said a man preparing to board a ferry at Horseshoe Bay on Thursday.

In a recent Leger poll, more than 40 per cent of Canadians said they now feel safe attending family gatherings.

“It’s still here, and it’s still getting worse, so therefore we should be even stricter … even with vaccines,” said Vancouverite David Corona as he watched float planes taking off and landing in Burrard Inlet.

With B.C. breaking the wrong kind of pandemic records, people will be watching case counts closely in the coming weeks, dreading a possible Easter bump.