Port Renfrew is asking the public not to visit the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. (File contributed/Portrenfrew.com)

Port Renfrew aims to keep visitors away to avoid spread of COVID-19

Gas station and store have reduced access while beaches, marinas and campground are closed

Weeks after Port Renfrew and the Pacheedaht First Nation first asked non-residents to postpone visiting, the region has taken further steps to ensure residents’ safety.

Kyle Van Delft, emergency program coordinator for the Pacheedaht Nation, said the gas station in Port Renfrew has restricted access to the convenience store and is only serving propane and gas. The San Juan Market has also moved to a delivery and take-out style of service, rather than having people come in to the store.

“As unfortunate as it sounds, right now there is really no need for people to come and visit the area,” said Van Delft, adding that the campground, beaches, marinas, Soul Creek Lodge and all other accommodations and businesses are closed as well.

“Not only have we asked that non-residents don’t visit the region, but we also are asking our residents to try not to leave the community,” said Van Delft. “Should the virus start transmission within the community, the effects would be devastating, especially for such a small population. We are just trying to keep the public safe and healthy.”

ALSO READ: Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht Nation close communities to visitors amidst COVID-19 fears

Van Delft said as part of the COVID-19 response, groceries are being delivered biweekly to residents to try to discourage community members from going to town.

Port Renfrew has a population of 140 people, while the Pacheedaht Nation is around 200, with one general store and a small volunteer firefighter department of 16 people.

Mike Hicks, CRD director for the Juan de Fuca electoral district, explained that right now, everyone is in survival mode trying to wait out the storm that the pandemic has created.

He noted the community has put up signs indicating they will only serve locals, and have been very sincere about practicing social distancing.

“With a situation like this you can either fight against the waves or you can hunker down and wait,” said Hicks. “And that is what Port Renfrew has done. They’ve thrown down their anchor and they are waiting for the storm to pass.”

Both Van Delft and Hicks said they are working closely with the provincial and federal government and are taking things day by day, but for the foreseeable future, these measures will remain in place.

“We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best,” said Hicks.

For further information on COVID-19 in Canada, please visit canada.ca.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

Saanich teen launches free online tutoring website

School Helpers matches volunteer tutors with students

People-less protest in Victoria holds space for victims of police brutality, systematic racism

People are asked to come learn the names of the lives lost to the hands of racism

VIDEO: View Royal resident spots cougar in nearby backyard

B.C. Conservation notified about early Thursday morning sighting

Victoria police arrest two people during ‘tweet-a-long’ Strike Force operation

VicPD offering ‘behind the scenes’ look at the operation

Greater Victoria tourism industry ‘can’t wait any longer’ for financial aid

Saanich mayor, business owners call on provincial, federal governments for tourism-specific aid

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read