COVID-19: Tofino asks visitors to stay home

Now is not the time to visit the beloved surf town, local leaders say

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      We Vancouverites love visiting to Tofino in Nuu-chah-nulth territory. However, now is not the time.

      In response to the COVID-19, the District of Tofino, Tourism Tofino, and the Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce are asking all visitors to postpone their trips to Tofino for the next several weeks.

      It's also asking people who are currently there to begin to make plans to return home. Businesses and local services are scaling down operations for essential services only. 

      “For now, please enjoy Tofino vicariously through images and your memories of past visits, and make plans to visit us again when our community is ready to host you and give you an incredible experience,” Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne said in a statement. “This recommendation is temporary only – just as the Covid-19 pandemic is – and we look forward to welcoming everyone back again soon.”

      Like many other small communities, Tofino has extremely limited health care resources. As the window narrows to help “flatten the curve”, local leaders are asking for everyone’s help.

      "This has been a difficult decision,” said Laura McDonald, president of the Tofino Chamber of Commerce. “We take pride in welcoming visitors to our community, and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to Tofino in the near future. I am a local health care provider, and we have to concentrate on meeting the health needs of our communities at this time."

      After the COVID-19 pandemic passes, Tofino will still be there.
      Gail Johnson.

      Meanwhile, the Wickaninnish Inn is closing for the time being. 

      It's not accepting new arrivals as of March 18 but will continue to service in-house guests until their scheduled departures.

      "Although an official closure is not a recommendation from the BC government at this time, the Wickaninnish Inn is taking this proactive measure as an extra precaution for the safety of guests, staff and the community of Tofino," a statement said.