OKIB Chief Byron Louis sends a message to visitors of reserve lands amid COVID-19. (Black Press file photo)

Okanagan Indian Band asks visitors to ‘stay away’ during COVID-19

Chief and council asks non-residents not to visit OKIB reserve lands during the pandemic

The Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) is making one message clear amid the COVID-19 pandemic crystal clear: tourists and visitors need to stay away.

Chief and council are requesting that all non-Okanagan and non-residents refrain from visiting OKIB reserve lands during the pandemic.

“Our simple message for those contemplating visiting or staying on or near the OKIB reserve is please don’t,” said Chief Byron Louis in a statement Thursday, April 9.

“As Chief and Council we want to ensure that we do everything we can as a First Nation to safeguard our community and in particular our elders.”

Louis said the request applies to those who may ordinarily stay at a secondary home during the summer.

“Plain and simple, if you rent a cabin or secondary home in the Okanagan and want to visit it or stay at it during this pandemic, please, not now. Not in the coming weeks. Stay home,” said Louis.

The band will be putting up notices advising tourists and visitors of the request.

“I just want to thank all those involved for their assistance in this matter. Remember, the life you save could be your own or that of a loved one,” he added.

The OKIB advises all residents in the area to practice physical distancing of two metres at all times, and recommends wearing a mask or scarf to help reduce transmission of COVID-19.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nations Health Authority launches virtual doctor program

READ MORE: Normal life won’t fully return until COVID-19 vaccine developed, Trudeau says


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