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LETTER: Travel restrictions needed for Island

For months the residents of Vancouver Island have been calling for restrictions for people “holidaying” on the Island.

The reason we cannot afford to have these numbers doubling, tripling, quadrupling is the ability to treat the sick. We don’t have the medical facilities or staff to accommodate these increasing numbers. Our medical frontline workers have borne the extreme stress along with our residents struggling to receive health care and treatments outside COVID.

I moved from the Interior to Vancouver Island 34 years ago with my spouse who was born on Vancouver Island, even back then the population was made up of older residents, this is still the retirement destination for many Canadians. We cannot afford to fill our hospitals with COVID-stricken patients.

Yes, it is a holiday destination, many businesses rely on this for their livelihoods, but this is in “normal” times, not in a pandemic crisis. The government needs to stop walking the “political” line and have the courage to shut down the B.C.-government-owned ferry system to the Island for essential travel only. The “curbs” need to be “restrictions” and we all need to do our part to keep this under control.

We have light at the end of the tunnel and all we have to do – is get in the trenches with those who we just celebrated on Nov. 11. They fought a good fight to protect our rights and freedoms – they did this by putting everyone before their interests. Now we are being called upon to do the same.

This is not about you – it is about the people you care about, the ones who cannot fight this virus, the ones who will pay with their lives if we don’t set aside our democratic rights and freedoms to protect our most vulnerable. This means wearing a mask, doing only essential shopping, keeping distant and, in this wave, limit contact with loved ones so we can all ring in the new year with hope and good cheer.

In early 2021 we will have a vaccine to protect them, we will be able to return to normal life slowly, but for now – we need to support each other without division (political or otherwise). We are in this together and this is how we will get out of it, and let’s work our hardest so no more lives are lost.

Jo-Anne Berezanski

North Saanich