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Premier John Horgan skirts issue of restricting American’s access to B.C. businesses

B.C. premier worried about out-of control coronavirus situation in the U.S.
B.C. premier worried about out-of control coronavirus situation in the U.S.

B.C. Premier John Horgan did not directly address the issue Thursday of restricting U.S. citizens from businesses in B.C.

During a media availability Horgan says he understands businesses want to see the millions of travellers come back from the U.S.

Residents and health officials have expressed concern that U.S. citizens crossing the border could lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the province.

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What can essential workers crossing the U.S.-Canada border do while visiting?

Cases have surged in many parts of the U.S. recently and the border between Canada and the U.S. has been closed to all but essential travel until at least July 21. A mandatory 14-day quarantine period for people entering Canada is in place until Aug. 31.

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Brandi’s Show Lounge in Vancouver has re-opened after a public warning was issued. The strip club has decided to not allow any American guests inside the business.

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Premier John Horgan on what $343B federal deficit means to B.C. infrastructure projects

“For now, we’ve also decided to not accept any customers who are residents of the United States,” reads a message of the lounge’s website.

“This is in recognition of the Federal Government’s order restricting non-essential entry into Canada and the higher rates of COVID-19 currently being experienced south of the border. When the situation changes, we look forward to once again welcoming our American cousins.”

Premier John Horgan was asked on Thursday about his thoughts on businesses restricting access to Americans. He said each business will make their own choices on how to operate but openly questioned whether Americans were to blame for the outbreak at Brandi’s.

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“That particular business I do not know if singling out Americans is the issue,” Horgan said.

“My understanding of the briefing I’ve had is that there were too many people in a confined space without adhering to the WorkSafeBC guidelines developed with public health. I won’t comment on the business practices of one company. I will say it would be interesting to be involved in the contact-tracing calls when it comes to that establishment.”

The border continues to be a contentious issue.

Vehicles with U.S. licence plates are being spotted at Vancouver hotels and in more remote parts of the province.

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Read more: Three new deaths as B.C. COVID-19 cases top 3,000

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Last week, Horgan raised concerns over U.S. tourists stopping in Port Renfrew, B.C. after telling border officials they were driving directly to Alaska.

“Essential travel” includes U.S. citizens transiting through the province to Alaska, raising concerns of a so-called “Alaska loophole” to the border closure.

Read more: Coronavirus: B.C. premier raises ‘Alaska loophole’ with feds amid U.S. vehicle sightings

Horgan says there are already 24 television and made for TV movies shooting in British Columbia and hopes to see the number go up. The television and film sector relies heavily on Americans travelling into Canada.

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Workers coming from outside the country will continue to be required to quarantine for 14 days.

“Whether they be consultants, whether they be, in the case of the film industry, front-of-camera talent or post-production advice to our businesses here in BC, we’re going to need to make sure that once the self-isolation period, the quarantine period of 14 days has expired, those individuals, in my opinion, are free to engage in other activities,”Horgan said.

 

–with files from Simon Little