VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You may be stopped if you try to leave your health region in B.C.
The B.C. RCMP says officers will be setting up COVID-19 road checks at four locations starting Thursday: at Highway 1 along the Boston Bar area, Highway 3 in the Manning Park area, Highway 5 in the Old Toll Booth area, and Highway 99 in the Lillooet area.
The road checks are part of the province’s latest efforts to limit non-essential travel in B.C.
If you're leaving the Lower Mainland this weekend you may be expected to tell a Mountie where you're going and why. Ban on non-essential travel b/w three zones (@VCHhealthcare + @Fraserhealth being one zone) being enforced starting today. Road checks being set-up at 4 locations: pic.twitter.com/yq0A3relIj
— Monika Gul (@MonikaGul) May 6, 2021
Mounties say officers will be asking for ID from drivers — documents showing their name and address — and the purpose for their travel.
If the person is found to be travelling for a non-essential reason, they’ll be told to turn around and head back. Those who refuse may be fined up to $575.
B.C. has combined its five health authorities into three zones.
“For the purposes of this order, the Northern and Interior health authorities will be considered a combined region, and the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health authorities will be considered a combined region as well,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said on April 23, when the new restrictions were announced. He added the Vancouver Island region will not change, aside for some exceptions.
The province has provided a list of what it considers “essential” reasons for travel:
- carrying out a work-related purpose, including volunteer work;
- moving to a different principal residence or assisting a person to move for that purpose;
- commercially transporting goods;
- receiving health-care services or social services or assisting someone to receive those services;
- attending court;
- complying with a court order;
- spending parenting time with a minor child;
- accessing child care;
- attending classes or receiving training at a post-secondary institution or school;
- responding to an emergency or a critical incident, including incidents that involve search and rescue operations;
- providing care or assistance to a person who requires care or assistance because of:
- a psychological, behavioural or health condition; or
- a physical, cognitive or mental impairment.
- visiting by an essential visitor as provided in the guidance of the Ministry of Health set out in a document titled Ministry of Health – Overview of Visitors in Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living that was in effect on April 1, 2021;
- attending a funeral service;
- travelling under the authority of a variance of an order issued by the provincial health officer under the Public Health Act if the variance was made before this section comes into force;
- travelling by residents of the local health areas of Bella Coola Valley or Central Coast to Port Hardy to obtain essential goods and supplies;
- travelling by residents of the local health area of Hope to Chilliwack to obtain essential goods and supplies;
- travelling by residents of the Nisga’a Health Authority region into the Northern-Interior Health Authority region; and/or
- returning to one’s own principal residence.
The enforcement comes as B.C. sees a daily drop in the number of cases, and as vaccination efforts continue.
However, British Columbians are still being urged to stick close to home in an effort to reduce transmission of the coronavirus.
The B.C. RCMP says signs will be placed well ahead of road checks to warn travellers and give them an opportunity to turn around if they are not out for essential reasons.
The force has also said notifications will be made on its website and social media channels when a road check is active.
The order restricting non-essential travel will remain in place until May 25