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British Columbia restricts travel in and outside the province to fight COVID spread

Last Updated Apr 23, 2021 at 11:27 am MDT

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth talks about seeking input on modernizing the Emergency Program Act calling upon emergency management practitioners, First Nations leaders, business and others during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, October 28, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

VICTORIA — Non-essential travel is being restricted between three regional zones in British Columbia to try and curb the spread of COVID-19.

The government is using the boundaries of three health authorities to prohibit travel between them.

The three regional zones are made up of: the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley; Vancouver Island; and the northern and Interior regions.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, who is also the minister of public safety, says the new orders are being brought in using the extraordinary powers of the Emergency Program Act.

The order goes into effect today and expires on May 25.

Farnworth says the order affects those who are travelling across regional zones for recreational purposes but it is OK to travel for essential reasons including to attend school or work, transport commercial goods, return to a principal residence, access child care, use health care or assist someone in obtaining health care.

Albertans travelling west to enter B.C. could be hit with hefty fines if they’re discovered to be there not leisure purposes.

Fines for anyone travelling between regions is $575.

Farnworth said the province is working with police to establish enforcement measures in the coming days and is once again urging people to stick close to home as much as possible.

“This is primarily, it is focused on recreational travel, non-essential travel. That’s what it’s focused on,” he said, noting exceptions listed make room for special circumstances.

Earlier this week, the National Police Federation said it has “grave concerns” about police taking part in enforcing a COVID-19 ban on non-essential travel while the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms opposes the rules.

 

With files from NEWS 1130  and CityNews