Frequently Asked Questions
Tourism Vancouver is working hard to keep abreast of the latest information and best practices regarding the rapidly-developing COVID-19 situation. The FAQ below reflects the most commonly asked questions from our members and the guests they serve. Please note that this situation is evolving quickly, and this information may therefore change daily.
1. Is it safe for me to travel to Vancouver and British Columbia? Should I cancel my trip?
In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the federal government will be closing Canada's borders to foreign nationals who are not Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents - with some exceptions. We know you're eager to visit Vancouver, but right now is not the right time to travel. We must all do our part and stay home and follow the advice of health authorities to keep yourself and others safe.
PHAC has updated their website with a notice that there is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:
- aged 65 and over
- with compromised immune systems
- with underlying medical conditions
We recommend regularly checking the Government of Canada’s website for timely updates: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
2. Could customs restrict anyone from entering Canada from certain countries? If yes, what are those current countries?
At this time, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Canada will be closing its borders to foreign nationals who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents – with some exceptions.
Our government’s decisions are made based on recommendations from WHO and health experts within Canada. As this situation continues to evolve, we recommend checking the Government of Canada’s website for the latest updates: https://travel.gc.ca/
3. Have you seen a decline in travel to Vancouver or even Canada in recent months?
While it’s too early for us to provide data that shows concrete impacts, visitor volume numbers for this quarter will be available in the Spring. With the travel restrictions imposed in certain countries like China, Japan and Italy, as well as our own federal government’s border restrictions, we can expect to see a decline.
4. How is the province preparing for COVID-19?
The Ministry of Health and BC Centre for Disease Control is actively monitoring the situation, together with national and international health agencies, in order to quickly identify and care for those who may have contracted COVID-19, and to prevent its spread. In fact, B.C. developed one of the first tests to confirm COVID-19. In addition to this, a Provincial Coordination Committee is in place to co-ordinate provincial preparedness and response across our health sector.
Phase 1 of government’s plan has been launched and is aimed at the delay and prevention of disease transmission.
5. How are major events being impacted?
During the Province’s Health Officer’s daily briefing regarding COVID-19 on the morning of March 16th, Dr. Bonnie Henry advised against holding events larger than 50 people. Tourism Vancouver will continue to monitor the situation closely and will engage with government to gain greater clarity on how best to implement their latest directive.
6. What additional precautions and measures are you hearing/seeing being taken by hotels, restaurants, and venues in and around Vancouver in light of the virus?
The Vancouver Convention Centre has outlined precautionary measures to increase preparedness and to address concerns relating to COVID-19: https://www.vancouverconventioncentre.com/news/coronavirus-covid-19-update
In light of recent directives from the provincial government, events scheduled for the immediate future at the Vancouver Convention Centre will not proceed until further notice. Out of an abundance of caution, attractions and restaurants have temporarily closed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to manage social distancing. A list of closures can be accessed here.
For specific hotels and restaurants, you would need to contact them directly for their business continuity plans which would outline their steps and procedures for managing a safe and healthy environment.
7. If a traveller contracts COVID-19 in B.C., and their travel insurance won’t cover related medical expenses, will the Canadian Government cover that individual’s medical costs?
We are not aware of the Government of Canada covering medical costs for travellers who contract COVID-19. However, travel insurance typically covers emergency medical care. Travellers who believe they may have contracted the virus are advised to contact their travel insurance company, who will refer that individual to a medical professional. In most cases, travel insurance coverage will be extended to cover time spent in quarantine. We recommend reaching out to your travel insurance provider directly.
8. What is the procedure if I have a guest who feels they are suffering from symptoms of flu, fever, coughing or similar illness issues?
If a guest or someone you know is experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, call the provincial health information hotline at 8-1-1, or contact the B.C Centre for Disease Control at 1-833-784-4397.
The provincial government has also launched a new hotline for non-medical information about the virus, such as travel recommendations and social distancing: 1-888-COVID19 or 1-888-268-4319 (open from 8:30 am to 8:00 pm)
You can also direct them to the provincial government’s HealthLinkBC page, which includes steps that can be used to conduct an initial self-diagnosis: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/hwsxchk