The B.C. government is clarifying how the province will crack down on those who break COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Previously, on Monday, B.C. Premier John Horgan said drivers will be subject to “random audits, not unlike roadside checks or CounterAttack during the Christmas season.”
However, on Tuesday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth wanted to clarify Horgan’s statement.
He said the province is examining the use of periodic roadblocks only set up at places like BC Ferries or on Highway 1 leaving the Lower Mainland, to discourage recreational travel, and not conducting random individual stops.
“It is unfortunate that we must enforce a travel ban, but it is necessary for the health and safety of everyone,” Farnworth said.
“Most British Columbians know they have a part to play in helping to curb the spread of COVID-19 and I am sure they will adhere to the new rules and stay in their region. We’ll also be focused on making sure these new orders do not unfairly impact racialized communities, and we’ll be taking steps to make sure we get this right.”
The orders will be released on Friday.
Horgan announced the upcoming restrictions on Monday in order to prepare British Columbians for the changes coming.
The police will be waiting for the Emergency Program Act order – and any associated guidelines – to inform the next steps.
“Our intention is to discourage recreational and leisure travel – not punish people – and we are not interested in disrupting commuters and people going about their lives,” Farnworth said.
“At this time, the details of the order are still being finalized, and I’ll have more to say later in the week.”
On Monday, Horgan announced rules would be coming in to stop people travelling outside of their health authority for non-essential reasons.
BC Ferries will not be allowing travelers with campers and trailers and will not be adding additional sailings on the May long weekend.
Horgan said people should not travel even within their health authority if it means booking accommodation in another community.
For example, Vancouver and Whistler are in the same health authority but Horgan said no one should be travelling there and booking accommodation for a getaway.
The hotel and accommodation sector has agreed to cancel reservations from anyone booking from outside the area.
Horgan said signs will also be posted along the Alberta border, reminding anyone driving into B.C. that it should only be for essential travel.
The travel measures will remain in place until 11:59 p.m. on May 24.
“Do not plan a holiday until after the May long weekend,” Horgan said.