Premier John Horgan pleaded with all British Columbians on Thursday to follow public health guidelines and slow the spread of COVID-19, in his first news conference since concerns were raised over potentially “explosive growth” of cases in the province.
Horgan said he was frustrated seeing pictures from Kelowna and a drum circle at Stanley Park’s Third Beach in Vancouver showing groups of mostly young people gathering closely together and not observing physical-distancing.
“It is not the time to make new friends. It is time to reinforce the friends you have. We cannot go back to normal interactions. I am appealing to British Columbians to use their good sense,” he said.
“I say to the drummers, there is a lot of coastline to gather on. There is a lot of space, but do it responsibly.”
The premier told reporters he doesn’t believe B.C. moved to Phase 3 of its economic recovery plan too soon, not just allowing recreational travel again within the province but encouraging it to help struggling businesses.
“I don’t believe we opened too quickly. Our daily cases counts when we moved to Phase 3 were really low. The envy of Canada.”
Horgan said he would not back down from his “travel B.C.” message because health officials anticipated an increase in cases alongside increase in travel, and B.C. is still seeing lower levels of transmission than places like Alberta.
“We said from the beginning that mobility rights of Canadians were fundamental,” he said.
The outbreak in Kelowna has been linked to more than 70 cases of COVID-19, with links to exposures in all five health authorities.
Across the province, more than 1,000 people overall are in self-isolation.View link »