LETTER – Hornby Islander imploring tourists to stay away this summer

Dear editor,

Residents of Hornby Island are highly stressed at thoughts of the coming summer and COVID-19. We are isolating, distancing, wearing masks, using sanitizers, and looking after each other. Many of us are seniors.

Despite the increased risk to our small community, we have no control over travellers coming to the Island: campers, backpackers, vacation home renters or second-home owners. Their state of health or abilities to isolate effectively are unknown. Our population can increase from 800-900 permanent residents to 5,000-6,000 people in a weekend. Some want to come to a ‘safe’ island, but that thinking — vacationing here, now, stresses limited services and jeopardizes the safety of full-time residents.

We have a community clinic with a single doctor and one registered nurse; protecting them is imperative or we will have no emergency medical care. Protecting first responders and firefighters is absolutely essential. Co-op staff, who shop for us in the closed-to-the-public grocery store, provide a crucial service by supplying food.

We understand the economic impact on small businesses, but this is not the time to visit Hornby Island.

We deeply appreciate those who have refrained from non-essential travel. When the risk to our residents’ safety is significantly reduced, we will again welcome guests and our extended Hornby ‘family’ to visit.

Mary MacKenzie,

Hornby Island

Comox ValleyCoronavirusTourism

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