British Columbia announced new travel restrictions on Monday (Apr. 19) aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19 and its accompanying variants.
B.C. Premier John Horgan said stricter rules are coming that will require British Columbians to stay within their own communities and reduce non-essential travel.
The new restrictions will reportedly be in place until the May 24 long weekend.
Among the new restrictions include:
- Restricting access to accommodations or camping sites outside of one’s local health authority. (Bookings that have already been made will be cancelled, Horgan said).
- BC Ferries will block bookings for anyone crossing with RVs or campers and will be contacting those who have booked to ensure their travel is essential.
- Restricting one’s ability to leave their health-care authority, which will be enforced through a roadside checkpoint program under the Emergency Program Act.
"Do not plan a holiday until after the May long weekend," Horgan said.
Some B.C.-based tourism operators have spoken out in favour of the restrictions if it means having a profitable summer season.
“I think the stakes are much higher now even than they were a year ago,” said Nancy Small, CEO of Tourism Richmond, speaking with CTV News.
B.C.’s bans on social gatherings and in-restaurant dining were also extended through the May long weekend.
Premier Horgan advised residents to stick to essential travel only, even if popular destinations are located in the same jurisdiction (like Vancouver and Whistler).
On conducting traffic checkpoints, Horgan said these will be conducted through “random audits, not unlike roadside checks or CounterAttack during the Christmas season.”
The Premier said police will not be granted additional powers, but rather, they will be after those who are “blatantly disregarding the rules.”
“Everybody will be asked where they’re going and where they came from,” Horgan said.
An official order implementing B.C.’s new restrictions is expected this Friday, April 23.
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