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

COVID-19 case confirmed at Highstreet Walmart in Abbotsford

Fraser Health sends out letter to those who might have had contact with individual

Racism wasn’t dealt with properly by school, says Chilliwack graduate

Woman tells story of being verbally assaulted at school for being black

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Call for support of Black Lives Matter movement in Mission

Over 200 signs hung around city showing solidarity with victims of police brutality

Investigators comb through Chilliwack house following standoff

RCMP say investigation involves report of an early morning shooting

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read