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‘I don’t want your money’: B.C. diner closes for Easter citing surge in out-of-town visitors

A restauranteur has raised alarms about out-of-province travellers in B.C. over the Easter long weekend.

The Main Street Diner in Nelson, B.C. closed its doors on Easter Sunday and Monday because “many people were pushy, rude and not following basic health orders or advisories,” according to owner Nick Diamond.

“The number of out of province phone numbers and licence plates I’m seeing in Nelson this weekend is incredibly concerning,” Diamond wrote on Facebook.

Click to play video: Vancouver air travel lags badly compared to Seattle

“Me, personally… I don’t want your money right now, I want you to go home, be safe and stay healthy.”

The mayor of Osoyoos said visits to the town in B.C.’s south Okanagan are down from pre-pandemic levels, but they still saw a surge over the Easter weekend.

Click to play video: Easter weekend travel warning in B.C. falls on deaf ears

She said local businesses are more prepared to deal with visitors.

“I can’t stand down on the street and say to people, ‘You shouldn’t be here, you need to go home,’” Mayor Sue McKortoff said.

“I don’t have any way of enforcing that, nor am I allowed to say that. So I just hope that people are paying attention to what the guidelines are.”

Click to play video: Health officials warn against long-weekend travel in order to halt B.C.’s third wave

The Vancouver Island community of Tofino is also seeing an increase in visitors, although not as many as in past years.

“By and large, most people that have come this weekend are following the COVID policies much better than they were last year,” Tofino Mayor Dan Law said.

“When a business owner employee says, ‘Look, our business is full, please stay outside,’ most people have been very compliant and understand.”

Read more:
‘Just don’t go’: B.C. renews plea against leisure travel over Easter long weekend

The province has repeatedly urged people to stay close to home and use the parks and green spaces in their own community over the long weekend.

Many who did stay close to home visited one of B.C.’s provincial parks to take advantage of the warmer weather.

Spots like Golden Ears Park saw long lines for parking and crowded conditions at some of the most scenic spots.

Last summer, a day-use pass reservation system was put in place for Golden Ears and a number of the other busy provincial parks as part of a pilot project.

The project is currently being reviewed and at this point there no indication the government will be bringing those passes back this year.

— With files from Grace Ke, Simon Little and Kylie Stanton

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