Periodic roadblocks but no individual stops planned for B.C.’s COVID-19 travel rules

Periodic roadblocks but no individual stops planned for B.C.'s COVID-19 travel rules
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The British Columbia government is looking at using periodic roadblocks to limit travel in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and the solicitor general, says the checks would be set up at locations like ferry terminals or along major highways leading out of Metro Vancouver.

In a statement today, Farnworth says the goal is to discourage recreational travel but there will be no random, individual stops.

On Monday, Premier John Horgan said unenforceable restrictions would not be considered.

Farnworth says his ministry is also working to ensure the new rules don’t unfairly impact racialized communities.

More information is expected later in the week, with Horgan implying yesterday that a press conference would be scheduled for Friday.

“Most British Columbians know they have a part to play in helping to curb the spread of COVID-19 and I am sure they will adhere to the new rules and stay in their region,” Farnworth says.

“Our intention is to discourage recreational and leisure travel, not punish people, and we are not interested in disrupting commuters and people going about their lives.”

Police will wait for an order under the Emergency Program Act and any associated guidelines before proceeding with any actions, says the ministry.

The government has been working with the tourism industry and BC Ferries to cancel bookings that have been made and to not accept new ones from people living outside their intended destination, Horgan said Monday.

There will also be no ferries added to the historically busy May long weekend in an effort to curb people from non-essential travel to and from Vancouver Island.

“I want to thank BC Ferries for stepping up to make sure that we can use this piece of transportation to restrict travel into Vancouver Island and off of Vancouver Island,” Horgan said.

New signs will also be set up along the Alberta-B.C. border reminding travellers coming from outside of the province that they shouldn’t enter unless it is for essential business.

Measures that ban indoor dining and adult activities at gyms have also been extended for another five weeks, matching the length of the travel restrictions, which will continue until at least May 24.

On Monday, the B.C. government said the province had 2,960 new cases of COVID-19 since Friday.

With files to the Canadian Press.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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