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Environment minister reminding outdoor enthusiasts to practice COVID safety this winter

Last Updated Dec 22, 2020 at 1:20 am PST

Mount Seymour. (iStock, Photo)

Minister of Environment and Climate Change is out with some advice for people heading into the backcountry

George Heyman says outdoors enthusiasts need to do more to keep themselves safe especially amid the pandemic

Despite changes the pandemic-altered holiday season has brung Heyman is encouraging people to enjoy the nature

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Before grabbing your snowshoes and heading into the backcountry this winter, don’t forget what B.C.’s top doctor has taught you.

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, tells NEWS 1130 he hopes people head outside this winter, but outdoor enthusiasts need to do more to keep themselves safe.

“When you’re up there and when you’re waiting for a lift or you’re on the trail — keep the same two meters social distance that we’ve become used to keeping when we’re in the city. Stick to people close by you who are in your house — so just as if he were back home. You’re not going to get to where you’re going any faster by being in a rush. You’re just simply going to make things a little tougher, a little less pleasant and potentially unsafe,” Heyman says.

Additionally, Heyman advises you to tell your loved ones where you are going, stay inside marked trails and boundaries, and carry some snacks along with water when you are out in the backcountry.

With fewer places to go this year because of the pandemic, Heyman recommends you prepare for those long lines.

“Be aware that these parks are going to see heavy use this winter season. That will be unprecedented and we want people to have an enjoyable experience,” he says.

“So, in addition to everything else pack a little patience.”

And if the highway signs at the bottom of the roads indicate that the parking lots are full Heyman suggests you come by another time or check the B.C. parks website for weather conditions.

“We expect [the parking lots] are going to fill up by about 9 a.m. so get an early start. If you’re going to be snowshoeing or skiing or, or boarding, make sure you get ahead. Get a pass for that use a couple of days in advance so you know you’ve got a parking spot and you know you can get on the hills,” he says.

Heyman is also reminding people to be kind to the staff who may be overwhelmed by the increase in demand.

“It’s an unprecedented year, but we want people to enjoy the outdoors, we want people to be healthy, and we want people to treat each other well.”


– With files from Martin MacMahon