Mayor Don McCormick had conference call with other mayors of resort municipalities and the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, Melanie Mark, last week.
The major intent of the meeting, he says, was to make sure cities were focused on spring break.
“It was a positive meeting,” he said. “Our first call with the new Minister. There’s still not enough vaccine out there, so we have to keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
He says that while the ski hill is seeing a lot more use from area locals in terms of passes sold, there are still a good amount of visitors as well.
Those numbers are likely to pick up over spring break.
“With the sun shining there will definitely be more visitors. We are asking our accommodators to be careful and vet groups. That’s a lot of pressure on accommodators but the major accommodators have been part of the updates we do. I can’t say enough about how good the North Star Group and Kimberley Alpine Resort have been. They have actually turned people away. The entire business community, our downtown restaurants, have been great.”
It’s very simple, he says — the basic protocols of social distancing, hand washing and masks, and small groups, work.
“It’s all about behaviour. We were really busy at Christmas but visitors and residents all followed the protocols. We have had 19 cases of COVID in Kimberley since the pandemic began. That being said, we are only one super spreader event away from trouble.”
Spring break begins in B.C. on March 22 and goes to April 2, while Alberta’s is March 27 to April 5. Saskatchewan is a week later from April 2 to 11. These staggered breaks could at least spread visitors out and relieve some pressure, McCormick said.