The popular lakefront Nk’Mip RV Park, owned and operated by Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB), east of Osoyoos, B.C., said they are cancelling reservations made by out-of-town travellers to comply with new B.C. travel restrictions.
Reservations booked for April 23 through May 25 will be cancelled for anyone travelling from outside the province’s Interior and Northern Health Regions — including those from outside the province, the OIB said.
“Although it is not obligated to support the provincial restrictions, Osoyoos Indian Band is taking this proactive step to provide for the safety of its members, operators and visitors and to ensure a successful summer season,” said Mike Campol, the OIB’s chief operating officer.
The campground is offering full refunds as well as the option to re-book, subject to availability.
Visitors already camping or residing within the park will not be affected by the cancellations, Campol said.
The Band also owns and operates Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Nk’Mip Vineyards and Nk’Mip Corner Convenience Store — all located near the campground and all popular stops for campers and tourists.
“Our members provide services to visitors at these businesses and deserve a safe and respectful work environment,” Campol said. “By supporting the provincial effort now, we expect to be able to safely and more fully provide services this summer.
The band expects the reduced revenues experienced this month will be recovered with an unrestricted summer season of travel.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth unveiled the non-essential travel ban on Friday, enacted under B.C.’s Emergency Program Act.
The plan divides B.C. into three zones — Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and northern and interior B.C., — and bans non-essential travel between them.
Holidaymakers are also to be turned away from the ferry system.
People who break the restrictions could face a $575 fine.
The restrictions came as B.C. continues to grapple with a third wave of COVID-19, driven by more infectious and virulent variants of the virus that have driven hospitalization numbers to new records.
The provincial government said it is working with tourism operators to voluntarily cancel reservations from non-locals, but it is not mandatory.
Some would-be tourists attempting to cancel reservations are facing pushback when they ask short-term rental operators for full refunds.
The B.C. Hotel Association said it’s encouraging those with hotel reservations to move the reservation to a future date if they are not local to the area.
However, president and CEO Ingrid Jarrett said the industry would not police travellers. She said hotel operators will focus on education over enforcement.
-With files from Simon Little