Visiting British Columbia During COVID: What to Expect

As life returns to normal, we’re all eager to get out and stretch our legs. Thankfully, many parts of the world are managing the spread of COVID-19 well enough that travel is again possible. And nothing relieves stress and brings joy like a getaway to a beautiful destination. British Columbia is an ideal travel destination, but you probably have a lot of questions about visiting BC during COVID.

The beautiful nature, fresh air, and clean cities of British Columbia — especially Vancouver Island — make it the perfect pick for the current situation. And Victoria is an excellent base for enjoying the best of it all. If you’re curious what a visit to British Columbia looks like right now, read on to learn more about what you can expect.

Who Can Visit British Columbia?

Travellers from other Canadian provinces are able to visit British Columbia as long as they don’t show symptoms of COVID-19. Visitors from outside Canada are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Of course, anyone who is sick should not travel. For more information, check out the government’s COVID-19 travel page.

What Is British Columbia’s Plan for Reopening?

British Columbia enacted a four-stage Restart Plan to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while safely returning to normal life. We’re currently in Phase 3, where leisure and recreational travel within the province is permitted. 

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What Is Open in British Columbia?

The following businesses and attractions are currently open in British Columbia:

  • Retail stores
  • Hair salons, barbers, and other personal services
  • Restaurants, cafes, and pubs (with sufficient distancing measures)
  • Museums, art galleries, and libraries
  • Recreation and sports such as golf and tennis
  • Parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Movies theaters and small performance venues

What Is Not Open in British Columbia?

The following businesses and attractions are currently closed and are scheduled to reopen in Phase 4:

  • Conventions
  • Professional sporting events with live audiences
  • Concerts

What Safety Practices Do I Need to Follow?

Visitors travelling to British Columbia, as well as residents, are encouraged to:

  • Practice good hygiene (frequent hand washing, avoid touching face, cough into sleeve, disinfect frequently touched surfaces)
  • Stay at home and away from others if feeling ill
  • Maintain physical distancing (no handshaking or hugging, small numbers of contacts, keep safe distance)
  • Consider using non-medical masks when physical distancing isn’t possible (on transit, shopping)
  • Remain in your vehicle If traveling to Vancouver Island by ferry.

What Can I Do While There?

The success of British Columbia’s reopening plan means that you can enjoy the area’s greatest treasures as long as you do so in a safe, responsible, and respectful manner. Outdoor activities in particular are recommended, and we’ve got plenty to fill your itinerary. If you’re in Victoria, stroll through Beacon Hill Park, marvel at Craigdarroch Castle, snap a few pics of the beautiful Inner Harbor, and get lost in the magical floral displays at Butchart Gardens. If you’re up for something a bit more active, get out of the city and hike, kayak, paddleboard, fish, and appreciate Vancouver Island’s magnificent natural beauty. If you’re staying near Victoria, try Thetis Lake, Francis/King, and Elk/Beaver Lake regional parks.

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What Should I Know About Vancouver Island? 

Victoria is the largest city on Vancouver Island, but it’s far from all this stunning region has to offer. The island’s rich history as a fertile area for indigenous art and culture, an explorer trading post, and meeting ground for many global cultures has given it a truly unique character and topography. Today, the entire island is dotted with truly unique coastal and mountain towns, each with its own character and vibe.

In the due course of any exploration, residents and travelers alike enjoy breathtaking vistas, ample opportunities to enjoy nature, and the contrast between the urbane and the untamed. From conventions to camping, foodie adventures to fishing trips, shopping to skiing, our jewel of the Northwest truly has something for everyone to enjoy. We encourage you to get out there and explore. There’s an adventure waiting around every corner.

Where to Stay?

Located right in the heart of downtown, The Parkside Hotel & Spa makes for a great pick, whether you’re here for business, leisure, or a staycation. You’ll enjoy luxury hotel-style amenities combined with the comforts of home, such as full kitchens, fireplaces, and private balconies. Take a look at our exclusive special offers and start planning your visit.