Premier John Horgan says he's seeking legal advice to see if B.C. can stop Canadians from travelling to the province for non-essential reasons, as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Horgan said he'd had conversations with other premiers about reducing non-essential travel, as concerns are being raised from across the province. Yet, he noted, Canada's Constitution allows free travel within the country.
It's an issue that has been discussed both in B.C. and elsewhere for months, and Horgan said it's time to find out whether provincial governments can act on it.
"I want to put this either to rest – so that British Columbians understand that we cannot do that, and we're not going to do that – or there is a way to do it and we're going to work with other provinces to achieve it,” he said at a media availability Thursday.
Whistler's mayor says the city isn't drawing the visitors it has in the past, due to the pandemic.
"To be honest, there are very few people here," Jack Crompton told CTV News.
Yet there have been concerns raised about the number of out-of-province visitors to Whistler over the winter break.
Others have proposed a non-essential travel ban between Vancouver Island and other parts of the province.
"I don't know who is in the lines – I'm staying with the message 'Stay home, stay local,'" added Crompton.
Vail Resorts, the company that manages Whistler Blackcomb Resort, says mask measures are in place, capacity is limited and physical distancing is a must in local businesses.
A spokesperson said operations are in line with public health orders.
"It's not our place to enforce that advisory. We ask people to listen to the public health recommendations," Marc Riddell said.
Maritime provinces were able to put a "bubble" in place to reduce travel in and out the region. But, Horgan pointed out, the population is smaller, and there are fewer ways to get in and out.
Horgan said a virtual cabinet retreat this weekend will speak to the issue, and he expects a decision next week.