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Should the Alberta/B.C. border close? One group says it should

Last Updated Apr 7, 2020 at 7:21 am PST

A shot of the mountains on Highway 3 in East Kootenay (CREDIT: Regional District of East Kootenay, Facebook)

CRANBROOK (660 NEWS) – A group in B.C. is calling for the border with Alberta to close.

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) has sent a letter to the B.C. Health Officer calling for additional measures to help the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the recommendations asks for the provincial border to close to all non-essential traffic and for private and backcountry campsites to shut down temporarily.

“As a region, we are united in our desire to reduce the impacts of this virus on our health care system and our communities,” said RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay.

“While the Provincial Health Officers on both sides of the border have been clear in their messaging that people need to be staying home, that message is not being heeded. We are gravely concerned about the potential impacts on our small rural hospitals, front line workers and communities.”

The board is especially concerned for the Easter long weekend as the East Kootenay region usually sees thousands come to the area.

There is worry emergency services, health care workers, grocery stores and other essential service providers can’t handle an influx of people at this time.

“This is about making a conscious choice to stay home and stay safe,” said Gay. “We are asking the Provincial Health Officer to introduce new measures that will prevent all non-essential travel and make it clearer that we need to stay home.”

So far there’s been no response from the B.C. government on this request.