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B.C. prepares to enact tighter travel restrictions to fight COVID-19

The B.C. Government is preparing to enact tighter travel restrictions by the end of this week as it also extended the already existing “Circuit Breaker” guidelines, to further slow the spread of COVID-19.

Premier John Horgan said the restrictions will include a number of measures to prevent non-essential travel. Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General will formally enact the new restrictions on Friday.

“This will be conducted through random audits, not unlike roadside stops during the Christmas season. They will be applicable to all travelers, not just some. They will be random, and there will be a fine if you’re found traveling outside of your region without a legitimate reason,” explained Horgan. “This is about travel. there will be no additional power given to police.”

Additionally, the Province will limit bookings on BC Ferries to cap non-essential travel further.

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“BC Ferries will stop accepting bookings for recreational vehicles like campers and trailers. BC Ferries will also be contacting passengers who have already booked reservations to make sure their travel is essential,” said Horgan.

The restrictions will be in place until at least Victoria Day on May 24th.

For hotels, they will not be allowed to accept reservations made by people outside of a particular area. Horgan stopped short of making this restriction official, however.

“Do not try to book somewhere outside of your area because the tourism operator in that community will not book you,” explained Horgan. “If we can’t do it without an order, we’re prepared to bring an order in. At this point, non-essential travel should be confined to local travel only.”

The announcement comes alongside an extension on B.C.’s Circuit Breaker guidelines, which limits indoor dining and fitness classes. The rules will also be in place until at least May 24th

With that extension, Horgan said new supports to help businesses through the heightened restrictions have also been extended.

“The Circuit Breaker programs that were put in place by Government to help those businesses through, will be extended as well. Those businesses should not be fearful that their initial application was their only opportunity, they will be able to make a second application to make it through the second part of the Circuit Breaker.”

This announcement comes as the Province announced that all B.C. residents over 18 years old will be able to register for their COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week.

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