The BC government is extending its state of emergency for an additional two weeks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Premier John Horgan announced on Wednesday.
The announcement comes as BC prepares to move to Phase 2 of its reopening plan after the Victoria Day long weekend.
“We are far from out of the woods,” Horgan said. “Today, cabinet met and renewed BC’s state of emergency for another two weeks.”
Horgan said the decision to do so was made “so that we can continue to keep people healthy, keep people safe, and the state of emergency will remain in place for the foreseeable future.”
He added the state of emergency is “renewed every two weeks, based on the evidence we see from Dr. Henry and in the broader community.”
And although here have been “encouraging numbers day-by-day” when it comes to the number of new cases and recoveries in the province, Horgan said that British Columbians need to “hold the line,” particularly as the Victoria Day long weekend approaches.
“We’re now in a position to carefully move toward the next chapter in our response to COVID-19, but we must not lose sight of the challenges that are ahead,” said Horgan.
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The province first announced a state of emergency on March 18, and this is the fourth time it has been extended since then.
In declaring the original state of emergency back in March, BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said doing so allows for additional powers, particularly in areas such as critical supply chains, to ensure people have the essential goods, services, and infrastructure.
“As we look forward to increasing our social and economic activity in BC, we must remember that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Farnworth on Wednesday. “Our province continues to be in a state of emergency, and we will continue in our co-ordinated response to keep people safe, support our health-care system and ensure our supply chains are secure.”