Be on the lookout for U.S. travelers

“Alaskan residents travel north from their winter home in the lower 48, and this year is proving no different in spite of COVlD—19 warnings. There is no doubt that these travellers are stopping in communities for fuel, food and rest; the unfortunate truth is that the communities that they are patronizing are some of those least equipped to cope with the demands of a COVID-19 outbreak in terms of health and other resources."

U.S. citizens from the lower 48 travelling home to Alaska will be driving through Dawson Creek and up the Alaska Highway.

This morning the City of Dawson Creek councillors discussed a letter of COVID-19 concern from Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor Gary Foster.

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“I would like to bring to your attention a new serious concern during this pandemic state of emergency. Many other communities have expressed trepidations about people that are still travelling, for tourism or to vacation properties. The Northern Rockies usually sees the number of US travellers increase at this time of year, due to tourism and as many part—time," he wrote to councillors.

“Alaskan residents travel north from their winter home in the lower 48, and this year is proving no different in spite of COVlD—19 warnings. There is no doubt that these travellers are stopping in communities for fuel, food and rest; the unfortunate truth is that the communities that they are patronizing are some of those least equipped to cope with the demands of a COVID-19 outbreak in terms of health and other resources,” wrote Foster.

US travellers need to present (to) US border officials when they are attempting to cross.

“As they cross the border, they need to present officials with their plan on how they will be getting from A to B with stopping points,” noted city CAO Blair Lekstrom this morning adding this was still a Federal jurisdiction.

“Travelers have to note where they are overnighting how they getting their fuel,” he added.

Councillor Jerimy Adam Earl noted a lack of capacity to police travellers.

“I share their concern.”

Lekstrom said it was important for the community to keep their eyes open for US travelers.

Foster was asking for more, the city noted the discussion.

“Given the remoteness of our location, we would liketo see much more strict regulation of travel into the region, essentially precluding all travel that is non—essential. Fort Nelson First Nation has closed its gateways to all but essential traffic, but as a local government we are unable to provide our residents with the same health security,” noted Foster.

“I hope that you are able to give serious consideration to this request, which we are making on behalf of our northern residents who deserve protection at this vulnerable time. “

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