BC currently has no plans to implement provincial shutdown of services

Mar 23 2020, 3:22 pm

While Ontario and Quebec have announced province-wide shutdowns of all non-essential services, BC Premier John Horgan is taking a different approach for now.

“We have clear directives from the public health officer that there are those businesses and operations within the economy that we need to keep going,” Horgan said on Monday.

“Saying ‘lockdown’ or ‘shutdown’ is really easy to say, but it’s difficult in reality,” he said. “I would rather get caught up and say to the workers, businesses and broader economy, ‘This is how we’re going forward,’ rather than use terms like lockdown and shutdown that, in my opinion, would create more confusion rather than less.”

Horgan said the province is “working sector by sector making sure that those individuals critically important to the delivery of services is done so through a thoughtful, methodical, science-based approach.”

The premier added that while it “may well be satisfying to say we’re going to shut something down, we need to make sure we’re doing it in a way that makes sense.”

Horgan’s comments follow announcements not only from Ontario and Quebec but also from the City of Vancouver, which announced on Monday morning that businesses in the city that do not comply with orders from the Provincial Health Officer or the City of Vancouver can now face steep fines.

A special Vancouver City Council meeting was held to grant the municipal government with expanded emergency powers, including the ability to enforce orders on businesses and – if necessary – fine them.

Two amending bylaws were unanimously passed during the virtual meeting. City Manager Sadhu Johnston says that the first allows for city officials to “pursue fines for prosecution up to $50,000.” The second bylaw allows for enforcement officers to issue tickets for breaking orders issued by the city. These tickets can reach a maximum fine of $1,000.

Outside of Canada, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially announced that the United Kingdom is entering a three-week lockdown, effective Monday evening, in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.