Alberta licence plates become targets for COVID-19 fears in some B.C. towns

Alberta licence plates become targets for COVID-19 fears in some B.C. towns

Alberta licence plates become targets for COVID-19 fears in some B.C. towns

VICTORIA — A British Columbia mayor says his community has embarked on a COVID-19 kindness campaign to counter concerns about animosity after reports of rudeness towards people driving vehicles with out-of-province licence plates.

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz said the north Okanagan community, known as the houseboat capital of Canada, wants residents to start saying hello to people and stop looking at licence plates.

“Right now we’re dealing with a health issue, an economic issue and it’s turning into a jurisdictional animosity issue,” he said in an interview Thursday. “What we’re trying to do through our message is say, ‘We’re people, not plates.’ “

Trail RCMP in southeast B.C. reported a verbal argument last month when a man questioned a woman about being in B.C. after seeing her Alberta licence plate, said Sgt. Mike Wicentowich in a news release.

“The male was worried about the possible COVID-19 transmission from Alberta.”

Wicentowich said the woman was living in B.C. but had not yet changed over to B.C. licence plates.

“The parties co-operated with the RCMP and left without further incident,” he said. “The B.C. RCMP are mindful that many British Columbians and Albertans alike reside in one province and commute to the neighbouring province for essential work.”

Rysz said there have been no official reports of incidents in Sicamous but he’s been hearing about rising tensions between local residents and people who own vacation properties in the area and travellers.

“We wanted to send the message out to our locals and our visitors as well that we’re people, we’re not licence plates,” he said.

Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz called for residents to welcome one and all to his southeast B.C. mountain community after a local resident reportedly found an expletive-filled note on his vehicle, which bears Alberta licence plates, telling him to return to the province.

The mayor posted a message on Revelstoke’s Facebook page that asked residents to welcome everybody arriving in the community, whether through travel, employment or family matters.

“I encourage you to reach out to those who find themselves in our community … and show them the grace of community, the collective of kindness and love that we truly are,” said Sulz.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said earlier this week travel during the pandemic comes with risks, but there are reasons some must travel.

“We know that people in our homes and people in our families, many of them are essential workers, whether it’s health-care workers, whether they’re truckers coming back from the U.S. with essential goods, whether they’re people back and forth to Alberta, for example,” she said.

Last month, Henry said it was not practical to restrict inter-provincial travel beyond suggesting people practise good behaviour, meaning travel only if necessary.

“We have a lot of people who may have Alberta licence plates but they may actually be B.C. residents,” she said. “We know that there are a lot of people who work back-and-forth across the border. As a matter of fact, in much of southern B.C., the closest health care that people get is actually in Alberta.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 11, 2020.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Three new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

The Central zone sits at 849 active cases, with 52 people in hospital and 10 in the ICU.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

Kyler Corriveau, of the Eckville area, was found dead on Sunday southeast of Red Deer. Police are investigating his death as a homicide. (Contributed photo).
Young Red Deer homicide victim is remembered as a caring friend

Police are investigating Kyler Corriveau’s untimely death

Sylvan Lake Winter Village. File Photo
3 charged in connection to vandalism at Sylvan Lake Winter Village

Sylvan Lake RCMP were able to identify the suspects thanks to community assistance

Sabrina Armeneau
Sylvan Lake RCMP search for woman missing for five years

Sabrina Armeneau was reported missing on Jan. 15, but has not been seen in five years

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton, Friday, March 20, 2020. Hinshaw says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read