Police in British Columbia have yet to issue any tickets at checkpoints set up to enforce a ban on non-essential travel amid COVID-19.
B.C.’s travel restrictions were announced April 23, but police only began enforcing them on Thursday.
Police have identified four locations for checkpoints — all on key highways leading in and out of the Lower Mainland, but have not had officers at each site each day.
“We had one up on Thursday and then two up Friday and we have another two up on Saturday,” B.C. RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts told Global News.
“We’ve seen about a thousand vehicles that have been going through the check stops. And at the end of the day, we’ve only had one individual, yesterday, that was the subject of a voluntary turn back and we’ve actually issued no tickets.”
Roberts said the low traffic numbers meant stops were only lasting “literally just seconds,” and were a sign people were following the rules.
B.C.’s restrictions split the province into three zones: Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and the Interior/North.
People who are stopped at a checkpoint are required to provide police with ID, their address and a reason for essential travel. If their reason is deemed non-essential, they will be turned back. If they refuse, they can be issued a $575 ticket.
Checkpoint locations have been designated on Highway 1 near Boston Bar; on Highway 3 in Manning Park; on Highway 5 near the former toll booths; and on Highway 99 near Lillooet.
“At any time from now until May 24, we could actually have one of those or all of those locations active. So what we do is once a location is active, we have been notifying the public,” Roberts said.
“Today we have to check up on Highway 3 and Highway 5, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. And tomorrow, if there’s checks, we’ll announce the timing.”
Police are not conducting random stops to enforce the essential travel order.
The order will remain in effect until the end of day on May 24, if it is not extended.