British Columbia has been under a state of emergency for the past 22 weeks and that’s not about to change any time soon.
B.C. government announced in a media release issued Aug. 18 that the provincial state of emergency will be extended for an additional two weeks due to COVID-19.
Extending the state of emergency means the province’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, Mike Farnworth, will continue to have “extraordinary powers” that can be used under the Emergency Program Act to assist with the government’s response to the pandemic.
The state of emergency is set to expire Sept. 1, although it will likely be extended as B.C. can only extend a state of emergency two weeks at a time. The province first declared a state of emergency on March 18, more than 150 days ago, in order to help deal with the pandemic.
B.C. has seen the number of new COVID-19 cases rise considerably this month.
In its media release, the provincial government hinted at further measures and orders following a sharp increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
“The vast majority of British Columbians are following Dr. Henry’s orders of seeing fewer faces in bigger spaces, but we all have to remain committed to flattening the curve,” said Premier John Horgan. “British Columbians have sacrificed a lot to keep transmission rates down, and now unsafe parties and gatherings are eroding that hard work. We’re committed to getting our province back on track and will be announcing enforcement action against those who continue to put others at risk.”
“We put these orders in place for a reason, and they are not optional,” added Farnworth. “Public health orders must be followed to ensure public safety, and I will be bringing in new measures later this week to address the actions of those who demonstrate their indifference to the health and safety of others.”