The BC government announced on Tuesday it has formally extended the provincial state of emergency that has been in effect since March 2020.
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on March 30, 2021, surpassing the one-year mark since it was first declared.
A provincial declaration of a state of emergency allows the province to implement provincial emergency measures and access assets that may be necessary to prevent, respond to or alleviate the effects of an emergency. This is a temporary measure authorized by the Emergency Program Act.
“British Columbians have been living with the challenges of COVID-19 for more than a year, and while our lives have changed, our resolve has not,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement.
Horgan called it a “sobering occasion” but added that ongoing vaccinations give a reason for “hope and optimism.”
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The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from BC’s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared a public health emergency.
On July 10, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed should the provincial state of emergency end.
“I want to thank the majority of people in BC who are following the rules,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“For those who don’t, our compliance and enforcement officers have the tools they need to enforce the orders. Know that if you break the rules, you will face consequences.”