Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Easing COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions for B.C. regions with few infections is not on the table this summer, Premier John Horgan says.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wrote to Horgan June 2 urging him and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to consider if the province can “accelerate reopening parts of the province with low case counts when it is safe to do so” to help struggling tourism and other businesses.

Wilkinson specified the Okanagan, the Kootenays, Northern B.C. and Vancouver Island, the latter of which hasn’t seen a new positive test for the coronavirus in almost a month. Tourism in those regions has been severely affected, with some businesses saying they may not be around for B.C.’s third phase of pandemic restriction easing, which may be near the end of the summer tourism season.

“It’s clear, based on the evidence, that some regions and industries have been hit harder than others across the province,” Wilkinson said.

Asked about the suggestion June 3, Horgan said he has heard it for some weeks as B.C.’s case count has fallen to low levels, with most infection in the Lower Mainland. He said Henry has been clear on it.

“She’s been pretty categorical that the virus is everywhere in B.C.,” Horgan said. “There is not one part of the province that is less susceptible to outbreak if we don’t follow the directions that have been laid out by public health officials. And we have opened up our campsites. They’re going to see more and more travel throughout the summer as we get towards phase three. And we’ll see tourism, domestic tourism, I think, pick up and, in fact, break records as British Columbians stay home and enjoy the beauty and the splendours of every corner of the province.”

The earliest B.C. could see additional travel is later in June, only if the spread of infection doesn’t show signs of picking up from the reopening of pubs, restaurants, libraries and personal service businesses that are permitted in phase two, he said.

“If people want to book arrangements at their favourite place in B.C, you can certainly do that now, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get there,” Horgan said. “We have had success in B.C. because people have done this together, and although I absolutely understand that people are going to want to go and move around, and I absolutely understand that tourism operators want to see that happen, it wasn’t that long ago that leaders in tourism-dependent communities were saying stay home.”

RELATED: Restrictions could ease by end of June, Henry says

RELATED: COVID-19 tests ‘don’t replace physical distancing’

@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

White Rock dogs-on-promenade survey shows majority approval

City figures suggest that off-season program could continue

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus in uptown White Rock

Collision occurred July 3 at North Bluff Road and Johnston Road

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s West Kelowna murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

Surrey man facing charges related to child pornography

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting in front of slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read

l -->