Port Renfrew is closed to the public. (File contributed/Portrenfrew.com)

Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht Nation close communities to visitors amidst COVID-19 fears

An influx of visitors to the area had locals concerned about resources

The community of Port Renfrew and the Pacheedaht First Nation are closing the area to visitors due to COVID-19 fears.

As of March 22 residents put up signage in the area and online asking non-resident visitors to postpone their trips to the communities, which had recently been overwhelmed by people looking to escape self-isolation in the area’s beautiful coastal scenery.

“What happened on the weekend is we had as many people on that highway as when they closed the Malahat,” explained Mike Hicks, CRD director for the Juan de Fuca electoral district. “It was insanity.”

This resulted in more people accessing local grocery stores and public washrooms, something Hicks said the surrounding communities do not have the resources to accommodate.

ALSO READ: Canada to spend $192M to find vaccine for COVID-19, Trudeau says

Port Renfrew has a population of 140 people, while the Pacheedaht Nation is around 200, with one general store and a small volunteer firefighter department of 16 people.

“There’s barely enough to take care of the locals, let alone thousands of people coming in,” Hicks said, adding that the larger concern is if there’s any kind of emergency. “There’s just not the resources to take care of that many people.”

A post from Port Renfrew’s website asks tourists to delay their trips to the area. (portrenfrew.com)

In addition to closing off the communities, as of noon on March 22 the gates to the Jordan River Camp Ground will be closed after gatherings of more than 50 people were spotted over the weekend, a number banned by the Provincial Health Officer in attempts to limit the spread of COVID-19. All accommodations and restaurants in Port Renfrew have closed.

ALSO READ: Telus eyes fibre optic connection to Port Renfrew

Hicks has also put forward a request to Premier John Horgan to close the gates to China Beach, Botanical Beach and French Beach.

He added that the request required a lot of “soul searching,” but seemed the right decision.

“Port Renfrew worked hard to become a destination,” he said. “Now it’s saying saying please come back, but come back later.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Saanich plugs into $100,000 government grant for 20 new EV chargers

Six chargers to be installed at four municipal parks

Greater Victoria housing market sees positive bump in June

Sales up by 76.8 per cent compared to May

Owners say loss of parking pushes businesses to the brink

New Penny Farthing patio ‘will be like New Orleans, or Las Vegas’

Saanich woman says sexual assault was dismissed by police because of her ‘body language’

Patrol officers investigate sexual assault files, make decisions on what goes to Crown counsel

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight in Victoria

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Most Read