Despite BC’s COVID-19 road checks still being in effect, police said this weekend they noticed an increase in the amount of traffic that came through the checkpoints.
“Our officers did notice an increase in the amount of vehicular traffic coming through the checks,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet told Daily Hive.
In total, officers checked 2,069 vehicles over the course of the weekend. Of these, 30 turned around voluntarily, and no violation tickets were issued.
Shoihet reminded all drivers and motorists that non-essential travel is discouraged at this time.
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Travel Restriction Road Checks are in place at select locations on select days until May 25, as part of the provincial ban on non-essential travel.
Police said signage will be in place informing travellers of upcoming road check locations and providing safe u-turn routes should motorists determine that their travel is not essential and wish to avoid the road check. Commercial vehicles will not be subject to road checks.
At the road check locations, officers ask “for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel.”
If an officer determines that a person is travelling for non-essential reasons “they will be directed to leave the region.”
Those refusing to do so may face fines under the Emergency Program Act, including $230 for not complying with the requirements of a road check and a $575 fine for violating the travel order.
The province has outlined its list of what sort of travel is considered to be essential. These reasons include:
- Returning to your principal residence, moving or helping someone move;
- Work, both paid and unpaid (volunteer);
- Commercial transportation of goods;
- Getting healthcare or social services or helping someone get those services;
- Court appearance, complying with a court order or parole check-in;
- Shared custody agreement;
- Childcare services;
- Attending school at a post-secondary institution;
- Responding to a critical incident, like search and rescue operations;
- Providing care to a person because of a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or a physical, cognitive or mental impairment;
- Providing care or assistance to a person who is seriously ill, disabled or has a physical or cognitive impairment;
- Visiting a resident (as an essential visitor) at: a community care facility licensed under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act that provides long term care within the meaning of section 2 of the Residential Care Regulation, a private hospital licensed under the Hospital Act, a non-profit institution that has been designated as a hospital under the Hospital Act and is operated primarily for the reception and treatment of persons requiring extended care;
- Attending a funeral.
BC Ferries also announced that it will deny customers who are travelling for non-essential reasons on the following routes, which cross between regional zones:
Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay
Tsawwassen – Duke Point
Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands
Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay
Comox – Powell River
Port Hardy – Prince Rupert
BC Ferries will also not be scheduling extra sailings for the May long weekend.