Navigate to other COVID-19 Information by Topic below:

 Community Wellness   Individual Supports   Business Supports   Recovery Planning   What's Open 

We understand that the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation is a cause of deep concern in our community. As the situation evolves, the District of Tofino will be assessing additional measures and is committed to communicating with the public. The following page includes public health links and resources from Vancouver Island Regional Health Authority, Provincial and Federal Health Ministries and important information on how to stay safe during COVID-19.

On COVID-19 Public Health page you'll find the following information:


*** Important Health Message***

Do you need help?  Reach out to someone for help if you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or struggling.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if you are in an emergency.
Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) if you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be.
Visit Online:
List of Mental Health & Wellness Supports:

COVID-19 Local, Provincial, Federal Updates

BC COVID-19 Dashboard

BC CDC Find information about COVID-19, how to protect yourself, your family and your community and what to do if you suspect you have the virus.

Non-medical information about COVID-19 is available 7:30am-8pm, 7 days a week at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319).

BC COVID-19 UpdateFind BC's Response to COVID-19 including: financial tools, news, public health orders, next steps and other government services.

Government of Canada COVID-19 - Latest updates, precautionary measures and travel advice.

Island HealthFind information about COVID-19, links to the COVID-19 BC Support App and information specific to our health region.

BC Restart Plan

Phase 1 - (Ended May 15)


Essential health care and health services
Law enforcement, public safety, first responders and emergency response personnel
Vulnerable population service providers
Critical infrastructure
Food and agriculture service providers
Industry and manufacturing
Communications and information technology
Financial institutions
Non-health essential service providers

Read the Full BC Restart Plan.

Phase 2 (Ended June 23, 2020)
Restoration of health services
Re-scheduling elective surgery
Medically related services (dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, chiropractors, physical therapy, speech therapy, and similar services)
Retail sector
Hair salons/ barbers/other personal service establishments
In-person counselling
Restaurants, cafes, pubs – with sufficient distancing measures
Museums, art galleries, libraries
Office-based worksites
Parks, beaches and outdoor spaces
Child care

Read the Full BC Restart Plan

Phase 3 - ( Where We Are Now)

Began June 23, 2020

Hotels and resorts (June)
Parks – broader reopening, including some overnight camping (June)
Film industry – beginning with domestic productions (June/July)
Select entertainment – movies and symphony, but not large concerts (July)
K-12 education – partial return in June, full return in September
Post-secondary education – with mix of online and in-class (September)

Read the full B.C. Restart Plan

Phase 4 - (TBA)

Date To Be Announced


Activities requiring large gatherings, such as: conventions, live audience professional sports, concerts
International tourism

Read the Full BC Restart Plan

What is the District of Tofino doing?

The District of Tofino is actively monitoring information provided by Federal and Provincial agencies with regards to the spread and severity of COVID-19. As the District of Tofino routinely does for other large-scale emergency scenarios, a Response Plan has been developed to strengthen preparedness at the local level for COVID-19. 

The District’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been operating since March 6th, meaning that trained District staff  and agency representatives are actively planning for upcoming challenges, response and recovery.

As the lead agencies for British Columbia, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and the BC Ministry of Health are closely monitoring the situation and will provide guidance to the public and local authorities.

Right now, the District is focused on the following main goals:

  • Ensuring continuity of essential District services;
  • Promoting awareness and information to the public;
  • Taking precautions for safe and healthy workplaces;
  • Liaising with and supporting lead agencies; and
  • Planning for resiliency and recovery.

The District of Tofino would like to assure community members that the health and safety of our residents and staff remains our utmost priority.

What should the public be doing? 

  • Stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
  • Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
  • Stay informed with official sources of information such as the BCCDC, Provincial Health Officer, and District of Tofino.

We would like to thank everyone for taking steps to keep yourselves, your families, and our community safe. We know that this involves making difficult decisions about staying home, physically distancing from those you care about, as well as making very difficult business decisions.

COVID-19 Public Health F.A.Q.

This FAQ provides additional resources that related to Public Health, but are more Tofino specific.  If you are unable to locate the information you are looking for, please navigate to one of the other COVID-19 Information tabs below or reach out to the Emergency Operations Centre Information Officer. (Contact below)

 Community Wellness   Individual Supports   Business Supports   Recovery Planning   What's Open 


What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak that began in December, 2019.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell.

However, around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people and those with underlying medical problems are most at risk.

If you have symptoms or are otherwise at risk, use the online self assessment tool to determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for COVID-19.

Support App & Self-Assessment Tool -

What should I do if I have symptoms?

The BC Ministry of Health has recently introduced the new BC COVID-19 Support app to complement their online self-assessment tool.  Both the online self-assessment tool and support app will allow you and your family to make informed decisions specific to your health.  Please use the self-assessment tool if you feel unwell or think you may have come into contact with someone infected by COVID-19. 

The Province has provided multiple assessment option for community members that include:

If you find that technology is a challenge, community members can also call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1.  You many also go to the Tofino General Hospital to be tested.  Please consider calling ahead to notify them of your arrival if you have symptoms.

Remember, the best way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 is:

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home as much as possible. Only go out for essential needs.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres from others outside of your household.
  • Use the online self-assessment tool.
  • Go to the Tofino General Hospital to be tested if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Learn more about symptoms and prevention of COVID-19 through the BCCDC – BC Centre for Disease Control website.

Where Can I Access Medical Care?

As always, Call 9-1-1 for ANY medical emergency.

How Do I Prepare for a Pandemic?

Be Prepared, Not Scared

Tofitians are used to preparing themselves for emergencies like tsunamis and earthquakes, but in this unprecedented time, how do you prepare yourself for the impacts of Covid-19?

There are practical things you can do to prepare in case you or someone in your household is asked to self-isolate.

Caring for someone with COVID-19? See the Provincial Guide "COVID-19 Pandemic – Be Prepared, Be Well: How to care for yourself and others". 

Make a plan that includes:

  • Essential supplies (a few weeks' worth) on hand so you will not need to leave your home if you become ill.
    • Avoid panic buying. Tofino’s supply chain remains strong, so shopping once a week for necessary items is your best course of action.
    • Renew and refill your prescription medications by calling ahead to local Pharmacies.
  • Alternative arrangements in case you become ill or if you need to care for a sick family member. For example:
    • Have backup childcare in case you or your usual care provider become ill.
    • Stay in contact with loved ones via phone, text, email and social media.
    • Talk to your employer about working from home if possible.
  • Reduce your exposure by avoiding crowded places. For example:
    • Stay home when possible.
    • Elect one person to do grocery shopping for your household.
    • Keep two metres apart when in public.
What is 'Social Distancing'? Does it work?

What Tofitians Can Do to #FlattenTheCurve
What is Social Distancing?

The World Health Organization and higher levels of government have called for collective action to stop the spread of COVID-19. As Minister Adrian Dix has said, “It’s not too late to join the fight.”

The province has already implemented some ‘social distancing’ initiatives by closing schools and issuing orders to close bars and large gatherings, however there are things you can do right now to “flatten the curve” (slow the spread of the virus).

What is Social Distancing?

The best way to slow down the spread of this virus is for everyone — healthy, sick, young, old — to limit social contact as much as possible. This is called social distancing.

  • Social distancing means reducing contact with others.
  • Social distancing means keeping two metres apart when in public.
  • Social distancing means staying home and only going out for the essential needs like food or medicine.
  • Social distancing means working from home and helping your employees to either stay home or to work from home.

What it’s not:

  • Having your friends over for dinner or for coffee is not social distancing.
  • Arranging play dates for your children is also not social distancing.
  • Visiting friends or family in long-term care homes or hospital is not social distancing.
  • Stopping at a grocery store to stock up after travel is not social distancing.

Why? How does it Work?

Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. By slowing the spread of the virus, we can prevent our healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed, which may prevent avoidable deaths and allow those who require care to access it.

Although older people and those with underlying health conditions are most vulnerable to the virus, young people are by no means immune and may spread the virus before they are symptomatic.

We recognize that social distancing measures are likely to have secondary consequences for individuals, families and businesses, such as loss of income, an elevated need for support services, and reduced availability of supports. The Vancouver Island Crisis Line is available to help anyone who is experiencing anxiety, or requires support. Visit, text 250-800-3806, or phone 1 888-494-3888.

View and Print the Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines for Social Distancing:

What is an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)?

In the event of an emergency or disaster, the District of Tofino may activate the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).  An EOC is a designated place/facility where a team of trained municipal staff and personnel from other relevant agencies gather to support the activities of an emergency. Its main objective is to provide support for the health and safety of responders and the community; protect lives, property, and the environment; and to reduce economic and social losses.  

An Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) activated by a local government follows the provincial requirements of the British Columbia Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS).  Activation of an EOC can be in response to natural or manmade disasters, disease outbreaks, and other public health and safety emergencies.

Right now, the objectives of Tofino’s EOC are:

  1. To provide support for the health and safety of responders and the community;
    • Ex. procuring equipment & facilities, ensuring sufficient personnel in critical roles.
  2. To provide accurate and timely information to the public;
    • Ex. Social media updates and helping essential services prepare operational plans.
  3. To plan for further measures or emergencies that may occur during the pandemic.
    • Ex. What if we had an earthquake now? How can we start planning for recovery?

There are three different levels of Tofino's EOC activation, depending on the scope and scale of the event.  As an event progresses, the activation phase is reviewed to effectively support response operations as required. 

Level One 

Small event, one site, two or more agencies involved, potential threat of local flood, severe storm, interface fire 

Level Two 

Moderate event, two or more sites, several agencies involved, limited evacuations, some resources / support required 

Level Three 

Major event, multiple sites, regional disaster, multiple agencies involved, extensive evacuations, resources / support required 

The EOC does not command or control on-scene response efforts, but does carry out important support functions through: 

  • Collecting, evaluating and disseminating information to the public; 

  • Analyzing jurisdictional impacts and setting priority actions; 

  • Managing requests, procurement and utilization of resources; 

  • Coordinating and liaising with federal, provincial and other local governments as well as other agencies involved in the response; 

  • Planning for the continuance of government. 

If an emergency is very large, two or more EOCs can be established, and if the emergency occurs in an unorganized area - or as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, across a geographical region encompassing a number of municipalities within British Columbia - then a Provincial Regional Emergency Operations Centre (PREOC) may be established to provide support and coordination.  

District of Tofino staff and volunteers regularly test the activation, set-up, and operation of the EOC to ensure its constant readiness and effectiveness. 
If you would like to learn more about becoming a key member of the Emergency Support Services team by volunteering, please contact: 

Keith Orchiston 
District of Tofino Emergency Program Coordinator 
(T) 250-725-3229 

Why can't the District declare a Local State of Emergency?

On March 27th, 2020, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General issued a series of orders under the Emergency Program Act. These orders relate to actions that the Provincial government is taking to ensure a coordinated response to COVID-19 across BC, instead of a ‘patchwork’ of local bylaws, states of emergency, and decisions.  

All local states of emergency declared by local governments, other than the city of Vancouver, have been suspended. The District of Tofino is not permitted to declare a State of Local Emergency, and is thus not able to use the powers of the Emergency Program Act.

This means that the District cannot:

  • Aquire or use private property such as hotels or other businesses;
  • Control or prohibit travel to or from our community;
  • Etc.

The District of Tofino is currently reviewing these orders in detail and looking forward to further details which may impact our local response.

See the full Provincial Government Release from March 27, 2020.

Summary of New Orders under the Emergency Program Act

See the link above for a full list of orders, which includes the following:

Maintaining the Supply Chain for Essential Goods and Services

  • A new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit has been established to take a more active role in coordinating essential goods and services across the province.

Protecting Consumers

  • The Province has prohibited the resale of essential supplies and will work with retailers and industry to restrict quantities of certain items purchased at point of sale to make sure there is enough for those who need them.

Proactive Education by Local Bylaw Officers

  • This order provides no new authority to Bylaw Officers to enforce orders under the Public Health Act (see above), which still rests with provincial health inspectors. However, Bylaw Enforcement Officers will now proactively educate the public about these orders, and inform health officials of any contraventions.

Emergency Response and Recovery Co-ordination with Local Governments

  • Local governments have been given the ability to hold more flexible meetings (i.e. electronic meetings) and the ability to expedite decisions. The District of Tofino is working quickly to set up electronic meeting software for upcoming Council meetings.

Protecting Renters and Vulnerable Populations

  • Evictions due to loss of income related to COVID-19 that would otherwise be allowed under the Residential Tenancy Act are now prevented or suspended.
  • Regulatory and administrative barriers are being removed to make it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.

Essential Services

The District of Tofino does not determine what is, or is not, an “Essential Service”. In their March 27th release, the Province identified a list of “Essential Services” which are necessary to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning. The District of Tofino will continue to work with Ministries to support and understand the implications of this list.

What Should I do in an Emergency?

In the event of an emergency, the most immediate danger should be addressed first.  

If you are in the inundation zone and there is the potential for a tsunami, you need to leave that area and head to high ground AS SOON AS POSSIBLE regardless of the potential COVID-19 situation. 

Now is the time to be reviewing your household emergency plans and thinking about what kind of changes you might need to make if you had to evacuate during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For a distant tsunami event, the District is recommending the following steps: 

  • Talk to your friends and neighbours about what kind of physical distancing steps you can take to keep each other safe during an evacuation.  Some people will have transportation and mobility issues that will affect their ability to evacuate. 

  • Consider homes of friends or family that are above the inundation zone that you could evacuate to, and how to do so safely and with physical distancing (staying in separate rooms, maintaining distance between families). 

  • If you don’t have access to a house above the inundation zone, evacuate to high ground and be prepared to shelter in place in your vehicle.  

  • The Community Hall and Industrial Way are both designated high ground muster points however, we are asking that you don’t get out of your vehicle and be prepared to shelter in place by having plenty of fuel, your grab-and-go bag with extra supplies of food and water, warm clothing and blankets, and any specific items you may need (hand sanitizer, medications, mobility aids, pet food, etc.)  

  • If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or think you have the virus, evacuate above inundation zone and be prepared to self-isolate in your vehicle. 

  • Further instruction will be provided over the local radio at 90.1 FM or via the One Call Now system, social media, and/or email. 

For a local tsunami event, STRONG SHAKING IS THE WARNING - Do NOT rely on official notices for warning to evacuate, and get to high ground as soon as possible. 

Learn the difference between a local and a distant tsunami at  

How Will I Get Information During an Event?

During an emergency event, the District of Tofino will make every effort to broadcast official tsunami alerts and information by email, telephone, and text message via the One Call Now system, as well as by social media, outdoor sirens, radio and/or door-to-door contact if possible.  Although we are currently switching our emergency notification system from One Call Now to Voyent Alert, the One Call Now system is still active and will be used in an emergency event until the Voyent Alert system is fully operational. 

For resources on household emergency plans, how to build an emergency kit, evacuation maps, how to sign up for emergency notifications, and more please visit:  

What are the Public Health Orders?

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, has issued several orders under the Public Health Act.  The list of current public health orders can be viewed through the Province of BC website.

Quick Facts about Provincial Orders:

Public Health Act (orders Issued by Dr. Bonnie Henry)

  • This Act provides a framework for managing current and emerging public health issues, including communicable disease prevention and control, health promotion and protection. It gives the minister of health and public health officials broad powers to issue orders necessary to respond to public health emergencies.
  • The Public Health Act is narrower than the Emergency Program Act, as it addresses health impacts for citizens rather than impacts on businesses, the environment or infrastructure.
What should I do if I think someone else is posing a public health risk?

Be kind and calm. We do not expect the public to enforce the Public Health Act or guidelines. Public shaming (online or in person), making assumptions, and making vulnerable populations feel unwelcome only divides our community at a time when we all need support. 

Reach out for help.  We have trained Bylaw officers available to support the community through situations of uncertainty. Bylaw Officers are still actively patrolling and following up on complaints; and they are sending any contraventions to the provincial orders to Public Health Officials (Island Health) for follow up. 

Do your part. Be mindful of your own actions and avoid behaviours that may cause distress to community members and contact Bylaw online or by phone if you feel someone is putting our community at risk.  

When should I call Bylaw? 

Not all scenarios require enforcement but if you are concerned for your or the public’s health, contact Bylaw. Our trained officers will determine if steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of our community. Their top priorities are to educate and ensure those in need have access to housing and resources, while minimizing the risk and spread of COVID-19.

How can they help?

  • Bylaw Officers are available to educate the public about the importance of physical distancing and business owners about the orders from the Public Health Officer to ensure worker/patron safety.  

  • Bylaw is actively patrolling and making contact with people living in vehicles to ensure they have access to public washrooms and are aware of how to reduce their likelihood of contracting or spreading COVID-19.  

  • Bylaw Officers are still actively patrolling and following up on complaints; and they are sending any contraventions to the provincial orders to Public Health Officials (Island Health) for follow up.    

If a Bylaw Officer determines that a contravention to the Public Health Order has occurred, they are mandated to contact a Public Health Official. Depending on the severity of the offence, fines and jail time may result.    

Bylaw Contact:

Where Can I Find Food Resources?

What are Essential Services?

In consultation with other government ministries and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), Emergency Management BC recently issued a list of essential services in British Columbia during COVID-19 pandemic. These are daily services essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning.

Should I wear a mask?

Wear a mask if you're sick: Masks are an appropriate part of prevention and control if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are caring for a person with symptoms. Wearing a mask does not make it okay to go out in public, but it can help prevent the spread of germs at home.

Wearing masks if you are healthy: Medical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers. Wearing a cloth mask is a matter of personal choice.

Any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing.

Please treat people wearing masks with respect and learn more at the BCCDC and WHO websites.  

Can I open my accommodation business and host visitors?

The District of Tofino has requested that all accommodation providers (hotels, campgrounds and vacation rentals etc.) cease operations until provincial health officials lift the guidelines discouraging non-essential travel for tourism and recreation. 

BC's Restart Plan lists hotels, campgrounds, and other accomodation providers in Phase 3:

  • If transmission rates remain low or in decline, hotels, parks and camping may re-open under enhanced protocols. 

The best course of action at this time is to remain closed and stay up to date with Provincial recommendations by checking official sources of news, and checking in regularly with indsutry associations, Tourism Tofino and the Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce who are providing regular updates to their membership.

We are grateful to all accommodation providers who have stepped up to provide collective support to our community’s health care workers and first responders by voluntarily ceasing operations during this time. Your actions are helping to protect our region’s most vulnerable populations, and are seen and acknowledged by our entire community. 

Is Accommodation an "Essential Service"?

Although the Provincial government has designated many accommodation businesses as "essential services", they have also been very clear that now is not the time to travel for recreation or tourism purposes.

We are grateful to those businesses who continue to provide necessary accommodation for healthcare professionals isolating from their families, RCMP officers, and other essential service workers, however this is not the time to welcome guests for non-essential trips to our community.

Learn more about the District of Tofino's plans for Recovery and Resiliency.

To Recreation/Vacation Travelers

Thank you to everyone who has postponed their vacations to the area and plans to #stayhome until the Province lifts the non-essential travel recommendation and we are safely in Phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan.

Visit Tourism Tofino for ways to support our community from a distance, and the latest travel advisories and information.


Elyse Goatcher-Bergmann
Information Officer
District of Tofino Emergency Operations Centre

District updates will be posted to all social media channels.