B.C. travel restrictions come into effect, province clarifies orders

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B.C. introduced orders under the Emergency Program Act to prohibit non-essential travel between three regional zones in the province. 

The three zones use health authority boundaries and are; Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions), Vancouver Island and Northern/Interior (Interior Health and Northern Health regions).

There will be road checks set up near ferry terminals and on highway corridors that connect different regions of the province, but the province said law enforcement will not engage in random checks.

Contravention of the orders can result in a $575 fine at the discretion of police, the province said.

Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general, put the order in place today, which was  introduced earlier this week.

The order is effective today (April 23) through to May 25 and applies to everyone in the province, including non-essential travellers from outside the province.

“The new variant strains are infecting more people and resulting in record levels of hospitalizations that place a growing strain on the front-line health workers who have been here for us throughout this pandemic,” Farnworth said.

“While this new legal order targets those who are travelling across regional zones for recreational purposes, the advice from Dr. Henry to stay local remains in place everywhere in B.C. Do not go to Whistler or Tofino – even on a day trip. Everyone should stay close to home.”

Signs will be placed at the border with Alberta to discourage travel, according to the province. BC Ferries will also restrict non-essential vehicle passage, deter non-essential bookings and limit sailings.

“In the coming days, the province will work with police to establish periodic road checks at key travel corridors during times associated with leisure travel to remind travellers of the order,” reads a press release from the province.

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