B.C. will soon restrict non-essential travel outside of health regions, put up signs on Alberta border

VANCOUVER — The provincial government is working on regulations that will restrict the non-essential travel of British Columbians outside their own health regions.

Speaking at a news conference Monday, Premier John Horgan said regulations are being developed by the public safety minister that will restrict movement within the province.

“If we can’t do it without an order, we’re prepared to bring an order in… non-essential travel should be confined to local travel only,” the premier said.

Additionally, B.C. will be putting up signs along the Alberta border, the premier said. These signs will remind travellers coming into B.C. that, as Horgan put it, “unless they’re coming for essential business, they should not be here. They should be back in their home communities.”

When it comes to British Columbians’ travel within the province, Horgan said Minister Mike Farnworth will issue the orders Friday under B.C.’s Emergency Program Act.

“This will be conducted through random audits, not unlike roadside stops for a counterattack during the Christmas season. They will be susceptible to all travellers, not just a few travellers… there will be a fine if you are travelling outside of your area without a legitimate reason,” Horgan said.

He did not say how much that fine would be.

The premier added authorities will be consulting with the BIPOC community to make sure the restrictions are put in place “in a way that does not give anyone fear that there will be additional repercussions.

“This is about travel. There will be no additional authority given to police. This will be a random audit to ensure people are following the guidelines.”

Among the measures put in place to help enforce the new rule is that representatives from the tourism industry are helping to eliminate any travel bookings from people outside of the particular area, including from outside the province.

“This is not the time to load up the Winnebago and travel around British Columbia,” Horgan said.

“If you live in the Fraser Health area, by all means, take a few days, get outside, perhaps go to a campground in your local area. But do not try and book somewhere outside of your area because the tourism operator in that community will not book your passage.”

Additionally, at the end of the week, BC Ferries will no longer be accepting bookings for recreational vehicles such as campers and trailers. The service provider will also be contacting passengers who’ve already booked sailings to ensure that the purpose of their trip is considered essential.

The update came as health officials announced the extension of other public health orders in B.C. through the May long weekend.

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