Highway blocked amid fears of tourists spreading virus

Eric Plummer, March 17, 2020

Sutton Pass is now open, after reports of tourists being blocked from reaching the west coast of Vancouver Island this morning. (DriveBC photo)

Sutton Pass, BC — 

A blockade erected this morning to prevent tourists from reaching communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island has been disbanded, according to reports from the region.

Amid escalating fears that COVID-19 will spread to coastal communities, the blockage occurred at Sutton Pass on Highway 4 this morning. Reports from the area noted that tourists were being prevented from passing through, while locals with addresses in Tofino, Ucluelet, Ahousaht or other west coast communities were permitted. The action brought a response from the RCMP, and by approximately 11:20 p.m. the blockade had dissipated.

Of particular concern were tourists from the United States, where the coronavirus has spread through certain regions particularly fast. As of Tuesday, Washington State had more than 900 cases – double the total across Canada - with 50 deaths. B.C. has recorded over 100 contractions of the coronavirus, three of which ended in fatalities.