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Non-essential travel allowed as B.C. enters Phase 3 of Restart Plan

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Jun 24, 2020 at 10:43 pm PDT

Summary

Non-essential travel is being encouraged within B.C., including visitors from outside the province

Hotels and resorts are also re-opening as part of Phase 3, while more movie theatres will be opening their doors

Non-essential travel is being encouraged within B.C., including visitors from outside the province

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Non-essential travel is being encouraged within B.C., including visitors from outside the province, as the premier announced the next phase of his government’s restart plan Wednesday.

Hotels and resorts are also re-opening as part of Phase 3, while more movie theatres will be opening their doors. The opening of more parks and resumption of more filming are also part of this phase.

Premier John Horgan is also extending the record-long provincial state of emergency until July 7.

Horgan said that he and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry never restricted the mobility rights of Canadians, particularly with respect to people from the Yukon and Alberta. But, he added, non-essential travel to B.C. was discouraged.

“Now that we’re moving into Phase 3, our message to them would be slightly amended to say, ‘Certainly, if you’re coming to British Columbia, be mindful of what British Columbians have done together to get us to a position where we can welcome people from other parts of the country,'” said Horgan.

In announcing the third of four phases in the plan, Horgan said the province is moving forward gradually.

“This means more businesses listed under Phase 3 of our restart plan will have the guidance of public health and WorkSafe to open safely,” he added.

“Many businesses in these sectors have already started opening with COVID-19 safety plans in place,” Horgan said.

“Phase 3 will also allow more opportunities for us to travel safely and respectfully within the province. We believe that if we’re careful about how we approach communities that we’ve not been to in a while, and we visit respecting the views and values of the people in those communities, Phase 3 achievements will be as positive as those in Phase 2.”

He said the province has reached out to Indigenous and municipal communities to let them know of changes.

Henry repeated her mantra for people, as more begin to travel, to keep social circles small and take precautions to keep everyone safe.

“If we go too far, we risk a rebound, and we will risk losing ground that we have worked so hard to get. None of us want that. So respectful travel, our travel manners, as we go into this unique summer means maintaining those safe social interactions, planning ahead, and being prepared,” she said.

RELATED: B.C. could see COVID-19 surge in summer if people expand social circles: top doctor

And if we’re talking about people coming in from other provinces, then we need to help them understand how we have done this here in B.C.”

Horgan added “this is not the summer for the big family reunion at the cottage.”

However, he mentioned more than 100,000 campsites in B.C. have already been booked this summer, and more are available.

“The biggest concern I have for our economic restart is the absence of, literally, hundreds of thousands of international travelers who have historically looked at British Columbia as a place to come and visit. That’s going to have a profound impact on the tourism economy. We know that.”

Horgan responded he isn’t aware of any requests from the film industry to allow cohort quarantines, as is proposed for potential NHL hub cities, including Vancouver.

“I don’t think there’s a comparison between the NHL proposal — which was going to be a group of people in one place — as opposed to the film industry, which is dispersed right around British Columbia, and has people domestic staff that would still be part of any production that takes place here,” he said.

Henry added the NHL proposal was specific and more than exceeded the requirements needed to ensure there is no contact with the public.

“And it’s a very different situation, as the premier has said, around the film industry, so there is no there’s no waiving of the 14-day quarantine and, as a matter of fact, the NHL proposal was quarantine essentially for the entire time that they’re here.”