Signs have been placed near the entrances to Lake Cowichan and throughout the area asking visitors to respect social distancing and other rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 15 signs are a collaboration between the Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce, Town of Lake Cowichan, Cowichan Valley Regional District, and the Lake Cowichan First Nation under their new “Welcome to Safe Cowichan Lake & District Signage Project”.
Brent Clancy, president of the Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce, said that while the flow of traffic to the area during the pandemic this summer can’t be prevented, the hope is to encourage tourists to act responsibly.
“As well, it is our hope that our businesses that have struggled under the COVID-19 restrictions can safely benefit from the boost in the economic activity that tourists provide,” Clancy said.
“While tourism is one of the driving forces of our economy in the Cowichan Lake community, we recognize that it comes with risks during this pandemic, and there is a large elderly population here as well. We have to be prepared and messaging like these signs is important during the pandemic.”
Clancy said the signs have been placed all around the lake and area starting at Paldi on Highway 18.
He said, as part of the campaign, chamber staff have also been busy visiting local businesses and providing them with stickers that they can put in their windows, by cash registers, or on desktops with the message of Welcome to SAFE Cowichan Lake and District.
As well, Clancy said the chamber’s Visitor/Business Centre is now open to the public, and people no longer need to make a scheduled appointment to visit.
He said the centre is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily with some restrictions in order to maintain safety for all.
“We have put many safety measures in place, such as plastic shields on the counters and alcohol-free hand sanitizers at the entrance and exit to the centre and at the counters,” Clancy said.
“There are also space markers on the floor, and information posted on our windows, sign stands, and event board. Please also note that we are now requesting you enter through the back entrance and follow the orange arrows on the walk and ramp, and exit out the front. In order to maintain social distancing, there will be no more than four people at a time in the building.”
Clancy said that while the area is expecting fewer visitors this summer, the business community and other stakeholders still want to help ensure that the local residents and visitors that do come have a positive and safe experience in the Cowichan Lake area.