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British Columbia travel restrictions: Where you can go in May 2021

Get the lowdown on hotels, campsites, tourist attractions and quarantine requirements.

While things aren’t quite back into full swing in British Columbia, there has been a gradual easing of restrictions across the province in the last month or so. Travelling too far from your local town is still strongly discouraged, but you can explore nearby camping spots, tourist attractions and national parks.

If you want to know more about what you can and can’t do in British Columbia, here’s an up-to-date guide on everything hotels, flights, attractions and more.

Accommodation in British Columbia

Hotels and self-contained accommodation are still open for business in British Columbia, with certain rules and restrictions in place. British Columbians are also being asked to only travel when completely necessary, for example, for work, education or medical reasons.

Staying with family or friends

Staying with anyone outside of your household is currently prohibited. If you live alone, you may invite up to two people into your house from your core bubble.

Staying at hotels

Hotels are open for bookings of the same household. Currently, hotels can only accept up to five guests per booking. All hotels must have social distancing measures in place. These may include running at a reduced capacity, implementing one-way systems and increasing sanitary stations around the hotel.

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Staying in a holiday home

You can book a stay on websites such as VRBO for people within your household or core bubble if you live alone. The same rules apply if you own your own holiday home.

Staying at hostels

Hostels currently remain closed across British Columbia.

Camping and caravanning

From March 8, 2021, campsites across British Columbia can welcome visitors once again. Until July 8, 2021, camping spots are reserved for residents of British Columbia only. After this date, which is subject to review, non-residents may also be able to make campsite bookings in the province’s parks.

National parks will open camping reservations for the 2021 season in April for visits between May 2021 and March 2022. Some public facilities such as showers may still remain closed.

All campers must book their slot in advance as campsites are not accepting drop-ins.

Boats and yachts

Boat and yacht hire is currently not permitted in British Columbia.

Tourist attractions in British Columbia

Most tourist attractions are open in British Columbia. You can visit local attractions with members of your household or core bubble. To safeguard customers, all venues must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that outlines the policies and procedures that are in place to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

Popular attractions that are currently open include the following:

  • Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Vancouver Maritime Museum
  • Maplewood Farm
  • Polygon Gallery
  • Vancouver Zoo

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National parks

The majority of national parks are now open in British Columbia. However, residents should not travel outside of their local area to visit them. Visitors are reminded to wear masks while in indoor public facilities and to keep at least two metres away from others.

The following national parks have reopened with some regulations in place:

  • Fort Langley National Historic Site
  • Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
  • Fort St. James National Historic Site
  • Glacier National Park
  • Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site
  • Kootenay National Park
  • Mount Revelstoke National Park
  • Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
  • Yoho National Park

Before your trip, check the Parks Canada website for details on what trails, services and facilities are available.

Beaches and local parks

Most beaches and local parks are now open to the public. However, many public facilities remain closed, and visitors are reminded to keep at least two metres away from others.

The following provincial parks are open with limited facilities:

  • Mount Seymour Provincial Park
  • Cypress Provincial Park
  • Sunset Beach Park
  • Goldstream Provincial Park
  • Rathtrevor Provincial Park
  • English Bay
  • Long Beach
  • Miracle Beach Provincial Park
  • Wells Gray Provincial Park
  • Ellison Provincial Park
  • Tribune Bay

You can find the current status of a park before you visit on the British Columbia Parks website.

Getting to and from your holiday

Driving within British Columbia

While travel is limited to essential journeys only, residents are asked to stay local in British Columbia. Where car journeys are crucial, you must only travel with members of your own household or core bubble. Car rental services are still available for essential trips.

Flights within British Columbia

Flights within British Columbia are operating at a reduced schedule.

All passengers are reminded to only travel for essential reasons, including caring for a loved one, travelling for work or education.

To keep passengers safe, airlines have reduced the number of passengers on board, increased cleaning schedules and ask that all travellers wear a mask for the duration of their flight.

Travellers do not need to self-isolate on arrival to their destination but are encouraged to monitor their symptoms carefully for two weeks after their flight.

The following routes are temporarily suspended:

  • Vancouver to Nanaimo
  • Vancouver to Comox
  • Vancouver to Fort St. John
  • Vancouver to Cranbrook
  • Kelowna to Victoria

Flights to British Columbia

The Canadian border is currently closed to all non-residents. Any international travellers must follow federal requirements on arrival. This includes a mandatory three-night stay at a government-approved hotel, 2 COVID-19 tests and a 14-day self-isolation period at home.

Interprovincial flights are still running for essential journeys only. Currently, domestic travellers do not need to self-isolate on arrival to British Columbia. The following routes are temporarily suspended:

  • Vancouver to Regina
  • Vancouver to Saskatoon
  • Vancouver to Winnipeg
  • Calgary to Prince George

Coach and bus services

Most coach and bus services are running as normal, but you may find a slightly reduced service on some routes. On booking a ticket, you will be assigned a seat and must wear a mask for the duration of the journey.

  • BC Bus North. Buses are operating with a normal schedule but there is limited capacity on board. Masks must be worn at all times, and no personal items such as blankets or pillows are allowed.
  • TransLink. Buses are operating with a normal schedule but with limited capacity on board buses. Masks must be worn while on board, and contactless payment is encouraged.
  • BC Transit. Buses are operating with a normal schedule but with limited capacity on board buses. Masks must be worn at all times.
  • Greyhound Canada. Buses are operating with a normal schedule but with limited capacity on board buses. Tickets must be booked in advance.

Ferry services

  • BC Ferries. Ferries are operating at a reduced capacity with a limited schedule in place and should only be used for essential travel. Tickets need to be booked in advance, and masks are mandatory in all terminals and while on board the ferry.
  • SeaBus. The schedule is running as normal but with limited passenger capacity.
  • Inland Ferries. The ferries are operating as normal, but passengers must stay inside their car while on the ferry.

Which territories and provinces can I travel to?

Travelling between territories and provinces is heavily discouraged. Most regions across the country still have their borders open, but some will require you to quarantine on arrival.

  • Alberta. Borders are open for essential travel only.
  • Manitoba. Borders are open for essential travel only. All arrivals must complete 14 days of mandatory self-isolation.
  • New Brunswick. Borders are open for essential travel only. All arrivals must complete 14 days of mandatory self-isolation.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador. Borders are open for essential travel only. All arrivals must complete 14 days of mandatory self-isolation.
  • Northwest Territories. Borders are open for essential travel only. All arrivals to Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River or Fort Smith must complete 14 days of mandatory self-isolation.
  • Nova Scotia. Borders are open for essential travel only. All arrivals must complete 14 days of mandatory self-isolation unless you arrive from Prince Edward Island.
  • Nunavut. Borders are open for essential travel only. All travellers must self-isolate for 14 days in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife before boarding the plane.
  • Ontario. Borders are open for essential travel only. On arrival, a 14-day self-isolation period is strongly advised.
  • Prince Edward Island. Unless a resident, travellers must apply in advance to travel to PEI and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
  • Quebec. Borders are open for essential travel only.
  • Saskatchewan. Borders are open for essential travel only. On arrival, a 14-day self-isolation period is strongly advised.
  • Yukon. Borders are open for essential travel only. All arrivals must complete 14 days of mandatory self-isolation.

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      Frequently asked questions about travelling in British Columbia during COVID-19

      How far can I travel from home?

      Currently, residents in British Columbia are advised against all but essential travel. If it’s necessary to travel, residents are asked to stay local as much as possible, avoid interprovincial travel and practice social distancing in public places.

      Are there any regional travel restrictions?

      The British Columbia government is currently asking all residents and visitors to the province to avoid travelling outside of their local area, except to make essential journeys. These include going to work, picking up groceries, collecting medical supplies or travelling to school.

      Can I travel to British Columbia if I live in another territory or province?

      The British Columbia government is currently asking people from other regions in Canada to refrain from entering the province. All new arrivals must also self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

      Do I need to limit the number of people I travel with?

      To reduce the spread of COVID-19, you should only travel with people from your own household and only for essential reasons. Hotels are currently only able to accept five guests per booking.

      Do I need to pre-book to visit dining venues and attractions?

      Many restaurants, cafes and bars are operating at a reduced capacity. It’s generally recommended to call in advance or book online to guarantee a table. Most attractions in British Columbia are not accepting walk-in parties. Instead, you must book your tickets ahead of time and choose a time slot to arrive.

      Will I need to self-isolate or go into quarantine when I return from my trip?

      This depends on your home province or territory. Most regions, apart from Alberta and Quebec, are asking travellers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. In Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Prince Edward Island and Yukon, it is mandatory for all new arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days.


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