COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) UPDATE:

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Last Updated: March 22, 2020 at 1:00 PM PST

Like you, we’re passionate about exploring BC. But now is not the time to travel. Please stay home and follow the advice of health authorities.

Do your part now, so we can all explore BC again later. In the meantime, find the official links below for the most up-to-date information.

For tourism industry updates about COVID-19, please visit Destination BC’s corporate website, here.

Latest Developments

On March 18, the Prime Minister announced more support for workers and businesses through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, support and new measures include:

  • Closing the border between Canada and the U.S. for non-essential travel until further notice.

On March 16, the Prime Minister announced new actions under Canada’s COVID-19 Responseactions include:

  • Canada will deny entry to travellers who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. Some exceptions apply.
  • Air operators have been formally mandated to prevent any travellers with symptoms to board an aircraft at point of origin to Canada.
  • International passenger flight arrivals will be redirected to four airports: Vancouver International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, and Calgary International Airport.
  • Suspended visitor services to all Parks Canada sites, including its national parks, national marine conservation areas and historic sites.
  • All Canadians are strongly recommended to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada, including to the US. Anyone who chooses to travel outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days on their return. Read the Official Global Travel Advisory.

In BC, provincial health officials announced updates on BC’s COVID-19 responseincluding:

  • Gatherings or events larger than 50 people are not permitted in British Columbia until further notice. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings and other similar events.
  • Casinos, including community gaming centres and bingo halls, are closed until further notice.
  • Bars and clubs are unable to meet the requirements for social distancing and are therefore closed until further notice.

The Province has created a dedicated phone service to provide British Columbians with non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, seven days a week between 7:30 am-8 pm, at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 1-888-268-4319.

Prevention and Planning

The Public Health Agency of Canada is actively monitoring the current outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and working with the World Health Organization and other international partners.

While keeping health and safety top of mind, we are working hard to gather new information daily from partners and officials on the current state of travel. We are committed to keeping our visitors updated as new information becomes available. Please check this page frequently for updates.

Travel advisory

Canadians are to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada, including to the US. Anyone who chooses to travel outside Canada must practice social distancing for 14 days on their return.

For Canadians who choose to travel, Canada has several active travel health notices for COVID-19. Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to consult the travel health notices on PHAC here, and are advised to sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service here to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or at home.

Each country or area may have different levels of risk. These risk levels may change as the COVID-19 event evolves internationally.

Helpful links on the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website include:

Canada will deny entry to travellers who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. Some exceptions apply.

If you are considering travelling and you are not a Canadian, please refer to your local health or travel authorities for the latest information.

Travel restrictions, airports, and borders

Canada is denying entry to travellers who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. With some exception such as air crews and diplomats.

Incoming travellers who are permitted into Canada at this time will be health screened at all borders – land, sea and air. Air operators have been formally mandated to prevent any travellers with symptoms to board a plane at point of origin, meaning anyone who has symptoms will not be able to come to Canada.

The federal government has advised Canadians who have travelled to affected areas and feel unwell to speak to their local healthcare provider or call 8-1-1.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) has implemented a number of health-screening measured as directed by PHAC, along with additional cleaning processes and procedures. You can find more information about measures underway at YVR here.

Airlines

Please contact your airline for the latest information.

  • Air Canada has issued a response to COVID-19 here.
  • WestJet has issued a response to COVID-19 here.

Ferries

Currently BC Ferries is operating with reduced service on some of their routes. Read about the proactive measures they’re taking in response to COVID-19, as well their latest updates on their website, here.

Cruise lines

Travellers coming to BC as a part of a cruise should contact their cruise line directly for the latest information on cancellations, changes, or other relevant information.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced an update to the February 7 guidelines for cruise passengers and crew. The additional enhanced screening measures in response to COVID-19 are effective March 4, find them here.

Events and conferences

Events over 50 people are not permitted in BC at this time. Please contact your event organization or venue directly for the latest details. For gatherings under 50, refer to PHAC’s risk considerations when deciding whether to postpone or cancel your event here.

Preventing transmission of diseases

  • Please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control for the latest on how to prevent the transmission of diseases here.
  • Learn more about the coronavirus, symptoms, how it spreads, and prevention here.

Seeking medical attention

All travellers who are visiting BC and begin to feel ill can seek medical attention at local hospitals or urgent care centres.

Note: In suspected cases of the coronavirus, it is important to call ahead to the hospital, doctor or urgent care centre first for advice. Where language may be a barrier, tour operators, accommodation providers, and other tourism businesses can provide support by offering to contact a health-care professional on their behalf. (Symptoms of a coronavirus infection include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and difficulty breathing.)

If you have symptoms

For travellers who suspect they might have coronavirus symptoms, you must provide health-care professionals with the following info (via phone):

  • Symptoms;
  • Where you have been travelling, working or living;
  • If you had close contact with a sick person, especially someone with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

Important Phone Numbers

International mobile phones on a Canadian network should be able to access the following phone numbers:

  • For non-emergency situations only, call 8-1-1 (or 7-1-1 for the deaf or hard of hearing). This is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line operated by HealthLink BC. Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
  • In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1.
  • Find the nearest hospital or health centre in British Columbia here.

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with provinces, territories, and international partners, including the World Health Organization, to actively monitor the situation. Public health risk is being continually reassessed as new information becomes available, with updates being posted to the government’s COVID-19 Updates page. The current assessment indicates that there is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:

  • aged 65 and over
  • with compromised immune systems
  • with underlying medical conditions

There are also increased health risks for Canadian travellers abroad. Because of these risks, the Government of Canada advises you to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice, including cruise ship travel.

Canada’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak takes a whole-of-government approach, based on plans and guidance related to pandemic preparedness. For an overview on the national response to the virus outbreak, including national updates, travel advice and links to official sources of information, visit PHAC’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Canada’s response page.

For detailed information about Canada’s response, including the measures already taken to respond to the outbreak, new investments to limit the spread of the virus and prepare for its potential impacts, and more, on the Government of Canada takes action on COVID-19 page.

For any questions, call the Health Canada COVID-19 information line: 1-833-784-4397, or email: [email protected]

World Health

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have issued a joint statement on international cooperation as key to the containment of COVID-19. Read it here.

Stay informed