The historic town of Barkerville will be open seven days a week again, beginning on Friday, July 3rd.

James Douglas, in charge of Public Programming and Media, says things will be getting back to normal, sort of…

“Things will look pretty different because of course we do need to follow the advised health and safety protocols for this continued COVID situation so we will be doing a modification to our regular public programming.    And by that I mean normally we’re very accustomed to having about a thousand people a day on site, right now due to limitations we can only allow 200 people at a time.”

Because of that, Douglas says people may want to plan ahead…

“It’s a good idea to call ahead or go to Barkerville.ca and book your tickets in advance, so that when you know that you’re coming you will have an opportunity to get right in through the door.   Walk-ups might be difficult, however we are open for walk-ups, and what we’re going to have actually because you come in through the visitor’s reception area but we will exit through and exterior gate.    We’ve built a small kiosk at that gate so that one our cashiers can keep track of the people that are leaving the park and then inform the cashiers in the visitor centre that there is now room for x number of people.”

Douglas says they still can’t have large gatherings…

“The Theatre Royal unfortunately will be closed, although we will be doing some live Facebook broadcasts from the Theatre Royal throughout the rest of the summer.    And the large sort of outdoor town tours and that kind of thing where people congregate we can’t do yet.”

Douglas says they’ve also sort of flipped their interpretive presentations around…

“We will have interpreters stationed in a variety of the displays so that people can up to the barbershop for example and see somebody in the barbershop.    They’ll be able to just stand at the door, have a five or ten minute conversation with that person, or just watch them for a little while doing what they do, and then move onto the next station and the next.”

While Covid-19 may be foreign to Barkerville, Douglas says pandemics are not…

“One of the more interesting facets of the whole span of the Gold Rush in Barkerville in particular from 1862 straight up until the 1930’s is that there were actually two pandemics that were going on during that time.    A lot of us are familiar with the smallpox epidemic that happened worldwide but specifically in British Columbia around the 1860’s,  and then there was the Spanish Flu in the very early days of the 20th century, so although COVID is quite a different thing than both of those, it does give us a jumping off point to discuss some of those more sensitive ideas that people might be having about what they’re having to experience now during this modern pandemic.”

Douglas says all of the businesses are open, and accommodations are also available at Barkerville.