FILE – Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth at a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, October 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. bans ‘shameful black market’ of food, medical supplies; limits buying quantities

Province is also creating a provincial supply chain coordination unit

The province is banning the resale of food, medical and cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said it would put an end to the “shameful black market for medical supplies” that has materialized as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“People engaging in that behaviour can expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said at the Thursday press conference.

Those orders, which include a ban on gatherings of 50 or more, will now be enforced by municipal bylaw officers, Farnworth said during a Thursday (March 26) press conference.

People found that breaking those rules could face fines of more than $25,000 or jail time. If citizens see rules being broken, they should reach out to their municipality or other local government – not call 911.

“This is not a drill, it’s a pandemic,” said Premier John Horgan.

All bylaws that restrict the time goods can be delivered to stores have been suspended, while quantities of certain items available for purchase are being restricted. B.C., like many other regions, has seen a rush in grocery stores as people seek to stock up for the pandemic. A provincial spokesperson confirmed that specific shopping hours brought in by various grocery stores, such as for seniors and health care workers, are not affected.

The province is also creating a provincial supply chain coordination unit, to ensure essential goods and services are not disrupted.

“These are unprecedented measures for unprecedented times,” Farnworth said.

He reiterated the provincial health orders from Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“There needs to be a province-wide coordinated approach … and that is listening to, and implementing, the orders of our provincial health officers,” the public safety minister said.

“Practice physical distancing – do not leave home if you’re sick.”

Municipal states of emergency, enacted by several cities such as New Westminster, are suspended. Vancouver’s will continue, as they have a different set of rules based under its charter. States of emergency issued by First Nations governments will also carry on, a provincial spokesperson confirmed.

Horgan said the province was taking these measures to stop the “patchwork” of rules across B.C.

Horgan said a uniform approach is needed at this point to reduce panic and inspire confidence that the system is working.

British Columbia’s move comes after other provinces have taken stringent measures, including Quebec and Ontario which have ordered all non-essential businesses to close.

READ MORE: B.C. promises up to $500 monthly in rent support amid COVID-19

READ MORE: $1,000 payment for COVID-19 affected workers won’t come till May

More to come.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

RDCK to implement new emergency alert notification system

System also includes sends alerts for water advisories

RDCK prepares anti-discrimination, anti-racism policies

Also: building codes, wildfire mitigation, parks openings, and Winlaw boardwalk

LETTER: Prepare a go-bag

From reader Jane Merks

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Indigenous leader Ed John pleads not guilty to historical sex charges

Ed John’s lawyer entered the plea by telephone on behalf of his client

Woman who talked to unconscious husband for 30 years gets solace from B.C. study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

RCMP investigate threat against Indigenous totem poles on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast

Police describe the nature of the threat as ‘sensitive’

Most Read