Don’t come to Kelowna unless you are vaccinated, says mayor amid COVID-19 outbreak – .

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Don’t come to Kelowna unless you are vaccinated, says mayor amid COVID-19 outbreak – .


VANCOUVER – As mayor of a destination city during peak tourist season, Colin Basran shares a message he thought he never had to: stay away from Kelowna.

“For the very first time, I am telling people to stay away from our city if they are not vaccinated,” Basran said Thursday.

This is also the message in surrounding cities as the central Okanagan, a tourist destination that normally receives visitors from across the province and other parts of Canada, faces an increase in COVID-19 cases. .

Dr Bonnie Henry said the same thing: People who are not fully vaccinated should not travel to Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland or Lake Country.

In a statement, Tourism Kelowna said it supported the move. For those planning to travel to the region, President Lisanne Ballantyne recommended calling ahead and getting official information. “We can still enjoy the summer safely if we do the right thing, stay patient and be kind to each other,” the statement said.

Interior Health said many cases are related to parties and the service industry, where staff often work at multiple companies. As of July 29, the health authority said a dozen wineries, restaurants and bars had voluntarily closed. No business has been forced to close.

The biggest change in the central Okanagan is the return of a mask mandate requiring anyone 12 and older to cover themselves in indoor public spaces. Outside, masks are recommended.

A health official noted that the extreme heat and poor air quality can force people inside, and when large numbers of people are not fully vaccinated, it is a breeding ground for highly contagious Delta variant. Outbreak protocols will remain in place until transmission rates decrease and vaccinations increase.

Ninety-seven percent of recent cases have involved people not fully immunized.

This is why the mayor of Kelowna has another message for those who have not yet sought to be vaccinated.

“Stop putting your health, the health of others and the ability of people to earn a living at risk,” Basran said. “Because that’s what you do. ”

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