Tourists face uncertainty as B.C. First Nations communities question safety

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As the province presses forward with its next phase of reopening for local tourism, many First Nations are keeping their territories closed to outsiders to avoid contagion.

“I’m getting 30, 40, 50 emails and phone calls asking me ‘Can I come?’ ‘Will there be blockades?’ and I just can’t keep up with them,” said Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. “If you plan to travel within a First Nation’s territory, call and ask them if they are open to visitors.”

The Nuu-chah-nulth announced plans to restrict entry to much of the West Coast of Vancouver Island until certain safety conditions are met.

“Things change, and if we get a whole lot more cases on Vancouver Island, we will batten down the hatches for sure,” said Sayers.

The provincial government had been asking people to refrain from unnecessary travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although this week said it will allow British Columbians to travel for pleasure.

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