British Columbians are by and large following the province’s public health orders, and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry doesn’t think there’s need for harsher measures, including a potential lockdown.
At her daily pandemic update on Saturday, Henry faced questions from reporters about whether the province was doing enough considering reports that people were still travelling to small BC communities over the Easter long weekend, despite warnings not to.
“There are many reasons why people may need to travel. Some of them are very legitimate reasons,” Henry said, while reinforcing public health advice to stay home and avoid all non-essential travel, even to cabins or vacation homes.
“I don’t believe that there’s a need for stepped up enforcement or lockdowns, or any of those types of measures,” Henry said.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries have imposed harsher restrictions than Canada has. In Wuhan, China, many people weren’t allowed out of their homes at all. In France, people who go outside for exercise must stay within one kilometre of their home. In Colombia, people are assigned rotating days they’re allowed to leave their home.
In Canada, when stories are reported about people flouting physical distancing guidelines by gathering in parks, social media commenters inevitably call for harsher restrictions, often crying “lockdown.”
Henry, however, said BC will not be taking that step.
“I know that most people are doing the right thing,” Henry said.
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Instead of sweeping measures such as a lockdown, Henry favours smart tweaks that allow people to still get outside while keeping their distance. She pointed to Stanley Park and half of Beach Avenue being closed to cars to make way for cyclists and pedestrians as one example. She also likes Richmond’s idea of implementing one-way walking routes in Garry Point Park.
“I think it’s important for us to get out. To be with our households and experience the fresh air,” she said. “It’s important during a time like this when we have so much anxiety.”