The BC government announced on Tuesday it has formally extended the provincial state of emergency that has been in effect since mid-March.
The province said the declaration allows Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, to continue to use powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
“Government and public health officials are doing what we can to fight this pandemic, but individual responsibility is going to play a major role in how this pandemic turns out,” said BC Premier John Horgan. “As we head into fall, every one of us needs to be following public health guidance to the letter so we can keep schools safe, keep the economy moving and flatten the curve.”
On August 21, police and other provincial enforcement officers were given the ability to issue $2,000 violation tickets for owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order on gatherings and events. Between August 21 and September 12, 14 violation tickets were issued, including eight $2,000 violation tickets to owners or organizers contravening the PHO’s order on gatherings and events, and six $200 violation tickets to individuals.
“We’re asking British Columbians to do the right thing and continue taking the health of your family, friends and neighbours seriously,” said Farnworth. “We’ve put measures in place to protect people and deal with those who insist on breaking the rules. We all need to take personal responsibility and make choices that will keep our communities safe.”
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on September 29, 2020, to allow government to continue to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns, such as recent outbreaks in some areas of the province.
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The province said the extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from BC’s health and emergency management officials.
Farnworth made the original declaration on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.