B.C. will not enforce advice to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but urges people to avoid all non-essential travel. (Black Press Media file photo)

Despite long-weekend travellers, B.C. has no plans to implement restrictions

Dr. Bonnie Henry continues urging non-essential travellers to stay home

The province doesn’t plan to enforce travel restrictions, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, but that doesn’t mean orders to stay home shouldn’t be taken seriously.

That message came April 9, just before the Easter long weekend when officials were asked about enforcing orders to avoid non-essential travel.

“We have not taken that approach in British Columbia and we don’t intend to,” Henry said. “It’s much more about supporting people to do the right thing – telling them what the right thing is, making sure they have the means to do the right thing – and as we have seen repeatedly, people do follow our advice around that.”

READ ALSO: ‘Full ferries’ only half-full, BC Ferries clarifies

On Good Friday, April 10, the 12:45 p.m. BC Ferry sailing from Tsawwassen to Duke Point sailed at full capacity, after the ferry corporation had repeatedly called for essential travel only. BC Ferries later clarified that with a 50 per cent drop in maximum passenger capacity, the numbers were still far lower than they would be on a typical long weekend.

Still, the busier ferry terminals prompted public outcry – more than 15,500 people signed a Change.org petition calling for strict travel restrictions on ferries, limiting the vessels to essential services and implementing “restricted access for residents who are trying to return home to their families.”

BC Ferries has taken a number of steps to reduce ferry traffic during the pandemic, including major service cuts and reduced routes. The ferry corporation posted to social media saying it is screening for COVID-19 but does not have the authority or direction to stop healthy travellers from boarding.

During a mid-day press conference on Saturday, Henry said she had been in contact with BC Ferries about the weekend numbers.

“They did confirm that they are only seeing a fraction of the traffic that they would normally on this weekend,” Henry said. “I am heartened that, I think most people are doing what we need to do. They are staying home and looking after their family. They’re taking care of their neighbours. They’re managing this challenging time staying close to home and staying a safe distance from others.”

Henry said she does not see a need for stepped-up enforcement or lockdowns but she did have a message for those still ignoring the government’s demands: “It’s not too late to join our cause and make sure you’re part of the solution as well,” she said.

“What happens this weekend is going to be reflected in what we see in the coming weeks and we do not want to see increasing numbers of cases, increasing challenges in our health care system.”

The province reported that as of Saturday, there were 482 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and three more deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 58.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 precautions ‘not optional,’ B.C.’s Dr. Bonnie Henry warns



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusProvincial Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

GALLERY: Perfect day for replanting marigolds in Armstrong

Volunteers soak up sun as they replant city’s Marigold Mile Wednesday, May 27

Vernon player chooses Winnipeg as next soccer home

Tori Hauptman will play for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen in U-SPORTS’ Canada West conference

Over Zoom, Armstrong council seeks new meeting space

BRIEFS: Centennial Auditorium under consideration as council looks to resume open meetings

Fundraiser launched for Enderby drive-in

Vernon resident seeks to raise $20K to save Starlight Drive-In

Duck nests at Vernon drive-thru

Mother has hatched four ducklings just inches from the steady stream of vehicles

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

B.C.’s labour minister should look at pandemic’s financial carnage amid minimum wage increase

The timing couldn’t be worse for any government decision that drives up costs for business, writes Jock Finlayson

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

Morning Start: How long can humans hold their breath underwater?

Your morning start for Thursday, May 2020.

100 miles in 24 hours: a B.C. man’s mission to support the less fortunate

Merrit’s Darius Sam felt a responsibility to help his community after encounter with a starving woman

Central Okanagan schools ready to welcome students back

Students are set to go back to school next Monday, June 1

Houseboat company partly owned by Shuswap MLA withdraws controversial ad

The ad welcomed houseboaters from other provinces, contradicting anti COVID-19 measures.

Squabble between campers in North Shuswap leads to bear spraying

An argument over late night partying escalated into a fight which led to one person being sprayed

Most Read