Bowen Island Municipality (BIM) and Tourism Bowen Island are asking all visitors to postpone their trips to Bowen Island in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know you want to come and enjoy Bowen Island, but our message to you today is ‘Please do not come,’” reads a press release from the municipality March 20.
“Our local businesses and services are scaling down operation to serve our essential needs, in order to protect the personal health and safety of the citizens of our small community,” says the press release. “We rely on our small businesses to support our residents, and they do not have the resources to support high volumes of visitors at this difficult time.
“Like many other small communities, Bowen Island has extremely limited resources to serve our citizens.”
“We take pride in welcoming visitors to our island, and hope you will make plans to visit us again when our community is ready to host you,” said Mayor Gary Ander in the press release. “For now, we have to make sure our residents and businesses are taken care of. We thank you for understanding the important action of staying home.”
BIM is also asking that visitors currently on-island make plans to return home.
“This has been a difficult decision for tourism, which plays such an important role in our local economy,” said Murray Atherton of Tourism Bowen Island in the press release, “We hope that you will enjoy Bowen Island through images and your memories of past visits, and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone back in the future.”
“We thank you for your understanding as we take unprecedented measures to protect our community at this very difficult time,” said the release.
The move comes as islanders have taken to Facebook to note the number of tourists visiting Bowen.
Ander addressed the island in the video below, released Friday afternoon.
Ander reiterated the health advice to practice social distancing, self-isolating and proper hygene. He also reiterated the ask that visitors stay away.
"We don't have the capacity to host visitors right now in our small community," said Ander.
Ander said this would be the first of at least weekly talks with the island. "Stay well everybody, you're doing a great job out there. Really appreciate it. Everybody's really proud of you," he said.