B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is clarifying how the province plans to enforce new COVID restrictions, a day after the premier announced roadside checks would be implemented to clamp down on non-essential travel.
Premier John Horgan said Monday that police will soon be able to use road blocks, similar to impaired driving Counterattack programs, to ensure British Columbians are staying only within their local health area, aside from essential travel.
Those who don’t have legitimate reasons to be travelling will be issued fines, under the Emergency Program Act. Essential travel includes for work or health-related appointments.
Tuesday morning, however, Farnworth said that a more detailed plan is expected on Friday and that the province is examining the use of roadblocks as one method, likely at BC Ferries terminals and major highway junctions that border health authorities.
“Our intention is to discourage recreational and leisure travel – not punish people - and we are not interested in disrupting commuters and people going about their lives,” he said. “At this time, the details of the order are still being finalized, and I’ll have more to say later in the week.”
Campground and other tourism accommodation operators have agreed to refuse bookings from out-of-region customers until after the May long weekend, and B.C. Ferries will refuse reservations for recreational vehicles and cancel extra sailings for the Victoria Day weekend, which is traditionally seen as the start of camping season.
“We require serious measures if we’re going to get to the May long weekend and salvage our summer,” Horgan said Monday.
– with files from Tom Fletcher
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