Vancouver Islanders are encouraged not to travel between communities, but they won’t face any police roadblocks for a new non-essential travel ban except at BC Ferries terminals, says the minister responsible.
Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he hopes Island residents heed the request from public health officials to stay close to their communities and avoid non-essential travel, but the new five-week travel restrictions are unlikely to manifest as Island roadblocks.
“The health advisories that are currently in place are to stay local are not to go outside your area – so for example, if you’re in Victoria, you know, don’t go up to the Nanaimo, and if you’re in Nanaimo don’t go up to the Port Hardy,” he said.
“That’s already in place, and most people are doing the right thing. What we are wanting to do is to limit travel recreational travel between health authorities. And so the ferry terminals on the island are the obvious location to do that.”
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B.C. will enact a non-essential travel ban between health authorities on Friday, with details to come on what is considered essential travel and the fines motorists will face for violating the rules.
Vancouver Island is one health authority, raising questions about whether any roadblocks would exist here at all.
On the Lower Mainland, Farnworth said the government will consider Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health as one health region so that roadblocks and checks do not occur at odd locations between cities.
Outside of BC Ferries terminals, Farnworth said there will also be roadblocks heading into the interior, such as near Hope or on the Coquihalla Highway.
The B.C. RCMP, which will likely to be called upon to enforce the roadblocks, said it is waiting to hear more information from the province.
“Currently the BC RCMP will be working with the BC Government and our law enforcement partners to determine the way forward,” Cpl. Chris Manseau said in a statement. “More information will be released at the end of the week.”
The restrictions on non-essential travel may also apply to the minor routes on BC Ferries, and not just between Vancouver and Victoria, according to the ferry corporation. It too said it is waiting on more details from the province.
“BC Ferries will be making changes to discourage recreational and leisure travel, and is currently working with the province on the details,” BC Ferries said in a statement.
“Since November, the company has been regularly advising customers to avoid non-essential travel. The health and safety of coastal B.C. communities and our employees is paramount. BC Ferries continues to provide service transporting people, goods and medical supplies to coastal BC communities for essential reasons.”