By Jesse Heinrichs
The discouragement of unnecessary travel will have implications for towns, such as Kimberley, that rely heavily on the tourism industry. But, it could also be a blessing in disguise for locals who want to make use of recreation sites around town.
Many of the recreation facilities in town are actually well suited for times that are dictated by social distancing.
The Nordic ski trails, and walking trails around the nature park, are both good options for people who want to get out of the house, while still maintaining an aspect of social distancing.
“We’re known as a tourist destination for our outdoor activities, and people come here to live for the outdoor activities,” said John Hamilton, executive director for Tourism Kimberley.
“I think that’s one thing they can really take advantage of to get away from all the bad news,” he said.
Staying inside the house, and being secluded, are both important things in times of a pandemic. However, going outside and being active can help people from going stir crazy, or getting cabin fever.
“We’re seeing a trend already from people who can’t go to gyms,” said Hamilton.
“They’re taking up running, or running again,” he said.
He said that all of the trails around Kimberley remain open, and that Rails to Trails continues to be maintained by the city.
In terms of the Nordic centre, he said that even though the facilities might be shut down, people should still be taking advantage of the tracks.
Hamilton said he’s unsure of how long things are going to last for, but if they last until May, the golf courses will be a good place for people to be active.
“They’ve adapted to all the new health guidelines so you can do a round of golf, or walk around the golf course, and still maintain your social distancing,” said Hamilton.
Although hotels in Kimberley remain open, Hamilton encourages people to take precautions, and to be sensible in understanding what the BC health guidelines are telling them.
Tourism Kimberley is not actively promoting the town as a destination at the moment, as Hamilton said it would be in poor taste to do so in the face of the current health guidelines.
For locals though, he said that now is a good time to see all that Kimberley has to offer. With many restaurants offering take out service, and a few that staying open under the 50-person limit imposed on March 17, Hamilton encourages people to support local businesses.
He encourages everyone to live their lives as normally as they can, while being extra vigilant and living as per the health guidelines.
“As the advertising board tells us, Kimberley is a good place to be,” said Hamilton.
“I can’t think of a better place to ride out this pandemic.”