Premier John Horgan announced today that the government will impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians however, is not planning to impose restrictions on inter-provincial travel at this time.
This announcement comes one day after it was announced that Fernie’s Covid-19 testing is producing positive test results over 10%, some reports were over 20%. According to criteria published by WHO, a positive rate of over 5% is an indicator that the epidemic is out of control.
Fernie’s positive test rate is high and places our community in a similar Covid-19 situation as Revelstoke, Big White and Whistler–all ski towns. Ski towns are experiencing higher numbers throughout BC post the many New Years parties, otherwise BC numbers are in decline.
Horgan’s announcement followed one week after he revealed officials were seeking legal advice regarding a potential ban on travellers coming into the province for non-essential reasons. “The review of our legal options made it clear we can’t prevent people from travelling to British Columbia. We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians,” Horgan said in a statement.
“If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers.”
Horgan said he spoke with other premiers and the prime minister on Thursday, and has asked them to spread the message that nobody should be travelling for non-essential reasons right now.
“We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available. And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely,” Horgan said.
Earlier this week an SFU health expert, citing COVID variants, urged B.C. to act quickly to restrict inter-provincial travel. Kelley Lee, the director of global health studies at Simon Fraser University, says no jurisdiction can completely shut its borders to essential travellers, but B.C. should consider restrictions, along with other measures, such as screening and testing.
BC Health restrictions continue as transmission continues and we need to continue our efforts to reduce social interactions and stop the spread. The provincial health officer’s orders restricting all gatherings and events have been extended through to FEBRUARY 5, 2021, at midnight.” This includes gatherings in people’s homes and in public venues. See the restriction details here.
Covid is a virus that spreads exponentially. A few cases becomes many without restrictions being followed. Mild symptoms can progress rapidly to severe symptoms including the need for oxygen and a breathing machine. Do not let this virus run wild.
Here’s a few pointers:
– Don’t host or attend social gatherings. This is currently the law.
– Enjoy some outdoor exercise with a friend.
– Avoid non-essential travel outside your home community.
– Double down on wearing your mask, washing your hands, and PLEASE stay home when sick.
Keep doing all you can to prevent the spread of this tricky virus: be kind, be calm, stay safe!