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Whistler Blackcomb opens as British Columbians told to stay local

FILE - A ski instructor is seen walking along the base of Whistler Mountain in Whistler, B.C. Sunday, March 15, 2020. The Whistler Blackcomb resort which is owned by Vail Resorts shut down operations Saturday due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis taking place worldwide. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Opening day at Whistler Blackcomb could be a bit quieter today without out-of-town skiiers

Restrictions remain in place in B.C., meaning everyone should avoid non-essential travel

Whistler's mayor is among those asking British Columbians to stay local, at least for now

WHISTLER (NEWS 1130) — It’s a quieter opening day than usual at Whistler Blackcomb as British Columbians are still being advised to avoid all non-essential travel.

Provincial health officials have instructed everyone to stay in their regions to stop transmission of COVID-19, and that means skiing and snowboarding on local mountains.

So those living in Vancouver have to stick to Cypress, Grouse, or Mt. Seymour.

Whistler Blackcomb is limiting lift ticket sales to allow more space for physical distancing, while face coverings are required to access the mountain.

RELATED: Safe ski season possible in Whistler with focus on flattening COVID-19 curve: mayor

Whistler’s mayor has also asked everyone to stay local, despite how that might hurt the economy.

Mayor Jack Crompton told NEWS 1130 last week the community is focused on having a safe ski season.

“I’m focused. I want people to take the actions they need to lower the risk and to defeat this pandemic. I’m asking our community, I’m asking everyone will hear my voice: shop where you shop, sleep where you sleep, ski where you ski, see who you see, take action yourself. It’s urgent. It has to happen now. Please, do it,” he said Friday.

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Whistler Blackcomb closed in mid-March for about three months because of the pandemic, stopping the ski season early. When the mountain reopened, it did so with new COVID-19 protocols.

B.C.’s travel advisory is part of health orders that will be revisited next month and are in effect until Dec. 7.

-with files from Sonia Aslam and Kurtis Doering