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Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health to be considered one region for B.C. travel restrictions

Last Updated Apr 21, 2021 at 10:07 pm PDT

(Ryan Lidemark/NEWS 1130 photo)

No checks on travel within the Lower Mainland, says public safety minister

Expect checks on travel to Vancouver Island, B.C. Interior

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – People travelling within the Lower Mainland will not be subject to checks on travel when restrictions come in later this week.

“The Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health authorities will be treated as one health authority,” Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said of check-stops.

“You’re likely to see something at the [BC] Ferries, for example,” he added. “The other obvious location is when you head into the Interior just before Hope, if you were going to take [Highway 1] or the Hope-Princeton, or the Coquihalla. But you will not be seeing anything on Boundary Road — in Vancouver or Burnaby, or the Tri-Cities, for example.”

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The president of the Vancouver Police Union and the B.C. Police Association says there were concerns from members after measures were first announced by Premier John Horgan on Monday.

The public safety minister clarified on Tuesday that the province was “examining the use of periodic roadblocks only” and that police would not be randomly stopping people on roads to make sure they aren’t travelling outside their health region during the pandemic.

Restrictions could see tourists from other parts of Canada denied access to parts of B.C.

Farnworth says the travel restrictions, set to take effect Friday, could prevent people from coming into B.C. from elsewhere in Canada.

“There will be signs at the border …. Essential travel only. I can tell you, though, that if someone does come in to British Columbia, they will not be able to go to another health authority. They will not be able to go from the Alberta border down to Vancouver,” Farnworth said.

“If we need to take additional steps or are able to take additional steps, that would be something that we will look at,” he added.

When it comes to whether the province can ban travellers from coming in through the Alberta border, Farnworth said “It is not an easy thing to do. There are a lot of challenges, particularly here in British Columbia, around that.”

More details on the restrictions — including what fines violators will face and how they will be collected — are expected on Friday.

“There will be full and comprehensive [details on] what is considered essential travel,” Farnworth promised.

-With files from Liza Yuzda, Mike Lloyd, and Yasmin Gandham