After the first implementation of checkstops over the Easter long weekend, the Town of Banff Emergency Coordination Centre is continuing with random checkstops throughout the coming weeks. In response to warmer weather, checkstops will be in place more frequently, on both random weekends and weekdays, as a precautionary measure for increased vehicle traffic.
The educational public health checkstops at the Town’s entrances are to keep people safe and help stop the spread of COVID-19. All levels of government are telling people to avoid travel as it increases the risk of coming in contact with the virus, and contributing to potential spread.
“Non-essential travel at any time – weekend or weekday – is not recommended,” said Silvio Adamo, the Town of Banff’s Director of Emergency Management. “The RCMP, Firefighters and Community Peace Officers staffing the checkstops will turn away people wanting to come for a day trip into the townsite. All stores are closed and essential services are for residents at this time. There are no restaurants open, no Parks Canada services, no attractions, and all emergency services are focused on keeping people safe during the pandemic.”
The checkstops ran during the Easter long weekend. In 2019, there were 39,600 vehicles entering the town over the four-day weekend. This year, over the same four days, 3,050 vehicles entered town (a 92% drop) but of those vehicles 2,870 (or 94%) were residents, essential services or a small number of motorists passing through on the TransCanada Highway needing to refuel. Only 6% of all vehicles were visitors seeking a recreational visit to the townsite.
“We are very thankful that so many people from the Calgary region have heeded the public health warnings and are staying close to their homes and their familiar support services. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to their ‘backyard’ mountain getaway when we are through the pandemic,” said Adamo.
Checkstops will be located at the entrances to town, immediately south of the TransCanada Highway (Mount Norquay Road entrance and Banff Avenue).
The checkstops will continue to be focused on increasing drivers’ awareness about the importance of avoiding travel and visitation to Banff, except for essential highway travel.
For more information, please visit banff.ca/COVID.