B.C. will not enforce advice to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but urges people to avoid all non-essential travel. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C. will not enforce advice to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but urges people to avoid all non-essential travel. (Black Press Media file photo)

Despite long-weekend travellers, B.C. has no plans to implement restrictions

Dr. Bonnie Henry continues urging non-essential travellers to stay home

The province doesn’t plan to enforce travel restrictions, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, but that doesn’t mean orders to stay home shouldn’t be taken seriously.

That message came April 9, just before the Easter long weekend when officials were asked about enforcing orders to avoid non-essential travel.

“We have not taken that approach in British Columbia and we don’t intend to,” Henry said. “It’s much more about supporting people to do the right thing – telling them what the right thing is, making sure they have the means to do the right thing – and as we have seen repeatedly, people do follow our advice around that.”

READ ALSO: ‘Full ferries’ only half-full, BC Ferries clarifies

On Good Friday, April 10, the 12:45 p.m. BC Ferry sailing from Tsawwassen to Duke Point sailed at full capacity, after the ferry corporation had repeatedly called for essential travel only. BC Ferries later clarified that with a 50 per cent drop in maximum passenger capacity, the numbers were still far lower than they would be on a typical long weekend.

Still, the busier ferry terminals prompted public outcry – more than 15,500 people signed a Change.org petition calling for strict travel restrictions on ferries, limiting the vessels to essential services and implementing “restricted access for residents who are trying to return home to their families.”

BC Ferries has taken a number of steps to reduce ferry traffic during the pandemic, including major service cuts and reduced routes. The ferry corporation posted to social media saying it is screening for COVID-19 but does not have the authority or direction to stop healthy travellers from boarding.

During a mid-day press conference on Saturday, Henry said she had been in contact with BC Ferries about the weekend numbers.

“They did confirm that they are only seeing a fraction of the traffic that they would normally on this weekend,” Henry said. “I am heartened that, I think most people are doing what we need to do. They are staying home and looking after their family. They’re taking care of their neighbours. They’re managing this challenging time staying close to home and staying a safe distance from others.”

Henry said she does not see a need for stepped-up enforcement or lockdowns but she did have a message for those still ignoring the government’s demands: “It’s not too late to join our cause and make sure you’re part of the solution as well,” she said.

“What happens this weekend is going to be reflected in what we see in the coming weeks and we do not want to see increasing numbers of cases, increasing challenges in our health care system.”

The province reported that as of Saturday, there were 482 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and three more deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 58.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 precautions ‘not optional,’ B.C.’s Dr. Bonnie Henry warns



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusProvincial Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People watch burning funeral pyres of their relatives who died of COVID-19 in a ground that has been converted into a crematorium in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Infections in India hit another grim daily record that day as demand for medical oxygen jumped seven-fold and the government denied reports that it was slow in distributing life-saving supplies from abroad. (AP Photo/Ishant Chauhan)
Liam’s Lowdown: Tell us more how COVID-19 is impacting B.C.

Compared to other provinces, B.C. releases less data on COVID-19 infections and vaccinations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers U18AAA girls hockey team – Jessica Engelbrecht (from left), Makenna Howe, Cheree Peters, Jayden Perpelitz, and Alexis Bishop – have all committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S. (Photo submitted)
Vernon-based hockey squad sends 5 to college ranks

Thompson Okanagan U18AAA Lakers players heading to Canadian and U.S. programs

Richard Green writes poetry under the nom de plume Rick the Poet Warrior. Homeless, Green sometimes spends his summers in Revelstoke but winters in Victoria, travelling to Ontario to visit his sister whenever he can. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke nomad pens poetry, offers insight into homelessness

Rick the Poet Warrior’s books can be found online as well as at the Revelstoke library

(Pixabay photo)
NHL bracket challenge supporting Indigenous awards at Okanagan College

One or more Indigenous students experiencing financial barriers will be able to receive an award

Sisters Audrey Cunningham and Donna Erdman, join the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus singing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Okanagan choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)
600-plus sign Falkland man’s petition against dog control

Similar bylaw rejected by 200 public hearing attendees when topic came up 9 years ago

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Notes of hope, encouragement and camaraderie were left on the message board inside the kitchen of TacoTime. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Adiós, Taco Tuesday: Kelowna residents flock to TacoTime on restaurant’s final day

‘We don’t need another Starbucks. We need tacos on Tuesday, with extra hot sauce’

Most Read