Premier’s statement on interprovincial travel restrictions
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our first and overriding priority has been keeping British Columbians safe. My thanks go to everyone in B.C. who has been working hard to keep the spread under control.
We’ve heard from many people who are worried travel from outside B.C. has contributed to the spread of COVID-19. In response to those concerns, we asked for legal options on restricting interprovincial travel and a better understanding of the impact of travel on transmission.
The review of our legal options made it clear we can’t prevent people from travelling to British Columbia. We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians.
Much of current interprovincial travel is work related and therefore cannot be restricted. Public health officials tell us what is most important is for everyone to obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules. Therefore, we will not be imposing travel restrictions at this time.
If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers. We will continue to work with the tourism and hospitality sectors to make sure all possible safety precautions are in place.
Today (Jan. 21), I spoke with my colleagues across Canada at the Council of the Federation and First Ministers’ meetings. The Prime Minister is exploring further international travel restrictions, and B.C. stands ready to assist. I asked my colleagues to carry a message back to their citizens: now is not the time for non-essential travel.
We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available.
And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely.
Lead image: Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park, near the B.C./Alberta border. e-KNOW file photo