The BC government announced on Tuesday it has formally extended the provincial state of emergency that has been in effect since mid-March.
The province said the declaration allows Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, to continue to use powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
“It’s encouraging to see the vast majority of British Columbians following public health rules to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep each other safe,” said BC Premier John Horgan. “However, there remains a small group of people ignoring Dr. Henry’s orders and threatening our hard work over the past several months to flatten the curve. This pandemic is not over, and whether it’s an end-of-summer gathering or hockey celebration, this is not the time to bend or break the rules.”
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On Friday, August 21, police and other provincial enforcement officers were given the ability to issue $2,000 violation tickets for owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order on gatherings and events.
The province said that in the first week of these new enforcement measures (August 21-28), 10 violation tickets were issued.
“Since we announced the new enforcement measures, we’ve seen several examples of violation tickets being issued to people breaking the law,” said Farnworth. “It’s disappointing to see behaviour that shows a blatant disregard for the safety of citizens. It’s time to stop breaking the rules. It’s time to do better.”
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on September 15, 2020.
The province said the extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from BC’s health and emergency management officials.
Farnworth made the original declaration on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.