Residents of Harrison Hot Springs are sending a clear but gut-wrenching message to would-be tourists during the pandemic – stay home.
Only 12 hours later, village officials responded with the official closure notice.
The village’s notice was simple and to the point, stating the village was officially close to visitors.
“We look forward to welcoming you back to our beautiful resort municipality after the authorities have advised that it’s safe to travel again,” the statement reads.
As spring emerges and the weather begins to warm up, people from all over the Lower Mainland tend to flock to Harrison’s beaches and town. A busy weekend in the village’s most scenic and sunny spots and the subsequent unrest via local social media prompted the writing of the open letter and the official notice soon after, strongly advising tourists to do their part during the coronavirus outbreak.
“This is a hard message for us to send as we know how many of your cherish Harrison Hot Springs, but we as you to respect our community and this request to stay home for now,” the letter reads. “We…fully understand the inclination to seek escape in the outdoors during difficult times, but the reality is that doing so right now risks lives in this area.”
The letter, dated March 21 at 10 p.m., asks those who are not primary residents of Harrison Hot Springs and those who do not provide essential services to the community to stay away from the area at this time.
“The reason is simple. As a small, residential community, we have a very vulnerable population, who, if infected with COVID-19, could experience severe and possibly life-ending complications,” the letter continues.
The letter’s author or authors don’t imply the weekend visitors were not practicing social distancing or other government recommended practices. Rather, it appears only to express a wish to protect the community’s most vulnerable people.
This letter is similar to one issued by the community of Cultus Lake earlier this week.
“If we all work together to do the right thing during this public health crisis, we’ll all be able to enjoy the Harrison Hot Springs area in a responsible and respectful way sooner rather than later,” the author or authors continue. “This is an important time for all British Columbians and Canadians to come together in support of others on a local and global level. As a group and as individuals, we are committed to doing everything we can to flatten the curve and not allow this serious virus to spread.”
The letter concludes with encouragement to share the message via social media.
“Thank you and stay safe.”