BC premier hopes to move to Phase 3 of restart plan next week

Jun 17 2020, 4:01 pm

As BC continues to move through its phased reopening plan, BC Premier John Horgan said he’s “optimistic” when it comes to the timeline around Phase 3 – particularly on the subject of loosened travel restrictions in the province.

“British Columbians have worked hard to flatten the curve,” said Horgan during a press conference on Wednesday.

He added that health officials “will have more modelling next Tuesday, and that will help guide the decisions that Cabinet will make with respect to various orders around travel.”

Noting that there is “a good deal of summer of ahead of us,” Horgan said he wants to do everything he can “to make sure that we’re not putting anybody at risk.”

And based on the numbers he’s seen, Horgan said he’s “hopeful that we’ll be in a position to move to Phase 3 sometime next week.”

The premier’s comments follow an announcement made by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry earlier this week that provincial officials will “be looking at transitioning around safe travel within BC.

She stressed however, that “it’s not going to be a full-on, full-off” but rather “a dimmer switch.”

In the meantime, the province is still in Phase 2, which includes staying home and avoiding non-essential travel between communities.​

According to the provincial government’s reopening plan, Phase 3 was scheduled to begin this month and continue until September. Part of the third phase includes relaxed regulations when it comes to travelling throughout BC, provided transmission rates remain low through Phase 2.

Earlier this month, Henry said she couldn’t give an “exact date” for when Phase 3 would commence, noting that “we are moving slowly, and what we will be looking at, though, is how can we take the best advantage of what we have in the summer to do it safely.”

This approach, she said, is meant to ensure that “communities that rely on tourism are able to have people come and visit and do it in a way that doesn’t overwhelm their capacity.”