Justin Trudeau – Kamloops Airport, Sun Peaks expect minimal impact from new travel rules
In the wake of new federal travel restrictions affecting flights and requiring additional quarantine time, some in the travel industry in Kamloops are expecting minimal impact.
On Friday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new measures intended to stop the flow of COVID-19 and its variants into Canada, including stopping flights to sun destinations and stricter quarantine requirements upon arriving in Canada.
Kamloops Airport manager Ed Ratuski said he was communicating with WestJet to determine if any existing reservations or bookings had been affected, but he expects the impact to be minimal.
“Travellers out of Kamloops are already essential travellers only,” Ratuski said. “It’s directed at leisure travellers travelling to sun destinations, and that had pretty much ceased here already.”
Ratuski said WestJet travellers concerned they may be impacted can contact WestJet at 1-888-937-8538.
Normal international travel during this time of year would typically include business travellers and tourism-related travel, such as people from the U.S. and Australia headed to Sun Peaks.
“There’s really none of that traffic right now,” he said.
Tourism Sun Peaks president and CEO Arlene Schieven said B.C. visitors to the hill make up about 95 per cent right now. Typically, that number is just less than 50 per cent.
“And obviously we have far fewer visitors this year than we would normally have,” she said.
In a statement released on Friday morning, B.C. Premier John Horgan welcomed the new measures.
“Our government had been calling for mandatory quarantine measures to restrict international travel further,” Horgan said. “We trust the federal government’s efforts to monitor and follow up with these travellers will be vigilant.
Horgan said the new measures build on B.C.’s own requirement put in place in April 2020 that all international travellers arriving in the province must have a self-isolation plan.
“Our message about non-essential travel remains the same: if you do not need to travel, don’t,” he said. “I continue to speak with the prime minister and premiers across the country about ways we can continue to limit non-essential interprovincial travel.”
Kamloops medical health officer Dr. Carol Fenton also welcomed the new measures, saying on Twitter, “Better. But I still worry that people will not adhere to the quarantine if their test is negative. Quarantine is still necessary because they could still be incubating.”
“But also, why is this only happening now?” she added.