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'Be vigilant, respect the rules': Critic slams couples who use loophole to reunite at Peace Arch Park

Last Updated May 26, 2020 at 5:43 am PDT

FILE - Peace Arch border crossing (CityNews)
Summary

Couples separated by the U.S.-Canada border reuniting at Peace Arch Park

Health critic Don Davies says if couples are meeting they need to follow health authority guidelines

Davies adds he totally understands the emotional side of this as couples want to reunite face-to-face

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — B.C.’s NDP health critic hopes people separated by the border respect the rules if they are reuniting.

Cross-border couples were able to meet face-to-face at Peace Arch Park over the weekend using a loophole.

NDP health critic Don Davies says the heartfelt reunions raise some concerns, given the couples don’t technically have to self-isolate since the lines for the border are staggered at that crossing.

“Folks in B.C. may remember that one of the epicentres for COVID-19 in the U.S. was Washington state, and we’re seeing some of the transmission patterns in B.C. did come from that state. So you know we’ve done a great job in B.C. so far in following public health guidelines. We got to just keep following them now and it would be a shame if after that sacrifice we got a flare-up of transmission because of loopholes like this,” he tells NEWS 1130.

“Well anytime there’s contact with people, contrary to our guidelines, it increases risk, and you know we’re still in the first wave and if you listen to the experts, a second wave is a virtual guarantee.”

Davies says he knows B.C. has set a great standard for flattening the curve thus far, but stresses now isn’t the time to be complacent, and adds it’s important to still be following public health guidelines.

“I know people think that we’re past the hardest point but we’re really not, and it’s going to be important for everybody to follow the social distancing guidelines, to the T, right to the end until we’re told that we can’t. It’s disturbing when situations like this occur, because people are letting their guard down, and the result of that could be disastrous.”

RELATED ARTICLE: After spending 69 days apart, couple reunites at Peace Arch

After spending over two months apart, Delta resident Dallas Singh and his fiancĂ©e, Amy Flett, who lives in Marysville, Washington, used a unique loophole to re-connect over the weekend. The two decided to meet at the Peace Arch Park Friday after getting the idea from Singh’s friend due to the “staggered” border lines at that crossing.

“Unlike truck crossing or Pac[ific] highway, where the borders are one straight line – these are segregated as most people know there’s a big grass part in the centre, in which people can come and meet in the centre, without ever having to cross any sort of country’s official border crossings,” Singh had explained.

Since the province has slowly lifted restrictions, Davies says he has noticed there has been a general relaxation among people in the province, “But that’s not a license to take steps beyond that.”

Davies adds, “I’m calling on everybody in B.C. to be really vigilant, you know, respect the rules, if there’s a loophole don’t take it, because they just put the whole community at risk.”

He says he understands it can be painful to be away from loved ones, so if people really need to meet, they must self isolate for 14 days and follow all the other precautions.

“It’s not okay to meet up with strangers to violate the two-meter guideline and then not self-isolate. That just puts everybody at risk, particularly our vulnerable and our seniors,” he says.

“So, I know there’s a lot of emotional difficulties going on right now, but that’s that, we just have to stay strong and can’t use that as an excuse to violate our public health guidelines.”