B.C. government extends state of emergency to restrict spread of COVID-19

Restrictions related to the province’s state of emergency will stay in place until at least September 29

The B.C. government has extended its state of emergency until September 29 – a move that enables Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to continue to use extraordinary powers under B.C.'s Emergency Program Act to restrict the spread of COVID-19.

The B.C. government first put its state of emergency in effect on March 18, and has extended it many times. The state of emergency is now the longest in provincial history – much longer than, for example, the 10-week state of emergency to deal with provincial wildfires in 2017.

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The reason why the state of emergency has not been extended by more than two weeks is because the government is only allowed to extend the state of emergency for further periods of up to 14 days at a time.

Among the moves that the province has taken under its state of emergency was one to enable police and other provincial enforcement officers to issue $2,000 violation tickets to owners or organizers who contravene the provincial health officer's order restricting attendance at gatherings and events.

Between August 21, when the province made that order, and September 12, 14 violation tickets were issued, including eight $2,000 violation tickets to owners or organizers contravening the provincial health order on gatherings and events, and six $200 violation tickets to individuals, the province said on September 15.

"We're asking British Columbians to do the right thing and continue taking the health of your family, friends and neighbours seriously," said Farnworth in a news release.

"We've put measures in place to protect people and deal with those who insist on breaking the rules. We all need to take personal responsibility and make choices that will keep our communities safe."

B.C. continues to grapple with COVID-19, with an 18-week high of 63 people in hospital, according to data released earlier today.

For more on the data, click here.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

 

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