VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — When police in B.C. set up road checks to deter non-essential travel during COVID-19, drivers will be warned with roadside signs, and informed via social media posts.
Under new travel restrictions, the province has been divided into three zones — the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and Northern/Interior. On Friday, Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said the “counter-attack style” checks will be set up on highway corridors that connect these zones.
A statement from the Mounties says the force is still figuring out where the checks will be set up. Although fines can be issued to people who are travelling between regions, the RCMP say they expect the “vast majority” of people to comply voluntarily. To encourage this, drivers will be informed if they are approaching a checkpoint.
“Signs placed well ahead of the road checks will warn travellers and provide them the opportunity to safely turn around if the purpose of their travel in not essential,” the statement says.
Officers at checkpoints are only allowed to ask for information from the vehicle’s driver in order to determine if they are leaving their zone, and if they are doing so for an essential reason.
The RCMP say drivers who are stopped and found to be travelling in violation of the order will be given the chance to reconsider, and comply.
“The emphasis will be on informing travellers of the order, identifying whether or not the purpose for travel is essential as listed in the order, and providing every opportunity for travellers to turn around voluntarily,” the statement says.
“In preparation for the upcoming checks we would ask the public review the restrictions and provisions that the provincial government has issued, and to avoid non-essential travel.”