If you’re planning on a road trip to another part of British Columbia in the next couple of weeks, you might want to cancel those plans.
B.C. Premier John Horgan announced during an address on Wednesday morning that non-essential travel within B.C. will be prohibited for two weeks.
“When it comes to travel, non-essential travel is prohibited in British Columbia and it will remain that way for the next two weeks at least,” he said, later adding. “This is not the time to go storm watching on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
A provincial order prohibiting non-essential travel has not been issued and Horgan did not provide specific details, only saying that more information would be revealed on Nov. 19.
He explained that COVID-19 is everywhere in British Columbia and people should take it seriously, wear masks, and limit their social circles as cases soar.
“You to reduce your social gatherings, you need to focus on staying distant from people you don’t know and if you can’t do so, you should wear a mask. I wear a mask when I am engaging people, you should do the same thing,” he said.
“The data is pretty clear, COVID is everywhere in British Columbia,” he added.
The premier also said there needs to be a pan-Canadian approach to travel in order to help reduce COVID-19 cases nationwide.
“We need to make sure that people living in Coquitlam are living under the same rules as people in Chicoutimi,” he said. “We need to make sure that those who want to come to British Columbia must only do so if it essential for their business and their well-being, beyond that we need to stay in our tight social circles.”
Horgan said he would like to see a nationwide ban on non-essential travel until vaccines can be distributed across the country.
“I am saying to all Canadians, stay where you live, reduce your social interactions. Do only those things that are essential to you and your family and your business and your employment and other than that, stay tight,” he said. “Stay focused on bending that curve. We have a significant two weeks ahead.”
Horgan said with vaccines on the horizon, there is hope that the pandemic could end sooner rather than later.
“When the vaccines are ready, British Columbian will be ready, but we are not there yet,” he said. “We can see the finish line, we can see some hope at the end of what has been a very very difficult tunnel, but we cannot lose our resolve now.”
The new measures on non-essential travel are not a penalty, but “solid advice” that is designed to keep people safe amid a deadly pandemic, said Horgan.
Horgan’s address comes less than 24 hours after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, reported 717 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths. Henry has also pleaded with people in B.C. to “pause” all non-essential travel as cases continue to climb.