Government of BC declares provincial state of emergency

Mar 18 2020, 12:27 pm

The Government of BC has declared a provincial state of emergency.

The announcement was made by BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.

“Declaring a state of emergency is an important measure to support our provincial health officer and minister of health in swift and powerful response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Farnworth said. “We are working with partners across government and industry to coordinate emergency response efforts, and we won’t hesitate to use the tools available to us to keep people safe.”

Farnworth says the emergency declared today will allow for additional powers, particularly in areas such as critical supply chains, to ensure people have the essential goods, services, and infrastructure.

He added that BC’s supply chains “are in good shape” and reassured British Columbians there is no need to hoard or overbuy food and supplies.

Farnworth says as House leader, he is working to resume legislature in order to complete urgent government business to expedite the government’s COVID-19 response.

The state of emergency is currently in effect for 14 days but can be extended or rescinded as necessary.

This announcement came shortly after Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart announced a state of emergency for the city earlier this afternoon.

On Tuesday, Premier John Horgan announced the closure of all primary and secondary schools to slow the spread of coronavirus.

BC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also declared a public health emergency in the province, as the total cases have reached 186 with three additional deaths. So far, seven people have died from coronavirus in BC.