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

Provincial search and rescue award a surprise for Kaslo’s Don Hunt

Hunt is one of six recipients of the Public Safety Lifeline volunteer awards

Woman who assaulted downtown Nelson business owner sentenced

Nicole Brown was found guilty of assaulting Linda Randall during an attempted shoplift in 2017

RDCK reduces number of properties under evacuation alert from Talbott Creek Fire to 46

Improved visibility has allowed helicopters to resume water suppression efforts on fire

Art as reconciliation: Ymir artist hosting BC Culture Days event

Damian John will lead a workshop titled Exploring Reconciliation Through Creativity

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

Most Read