COVID-19: B.C. Premier John Horgan says province can't take action to stop interprovincial travel

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      The issue of travel has been one that has been discussed and debated over the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Lists of flights with COVID-19 exposure events have long raised concerns among B.C. citizens while Canadian politicians and other public figures taking vacations or making non-essential trips have come under heightened scrutiny over the past few weeks. 

      Also, B.C. Premier John Horgan previously called for stricter federal regulations on travel between Alaska and the U.S., which were increased on July 30. 

      Today (January 21), Premier John Horgan issued a statement in which he said that the B.C. government has heard from numerous individuals who are concerned about how travel by people from outside the province into B.C. is contributing to coronavirus transmissions.

      Horgan said that the provincial government sought legal advice on restrictions for interprovincial travel and the impact of travel on transmission.

      However, Horgan said that considerations of all legal options have shown that they cannot prevent people from traveling to B.C.

      “We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians,” Horgan said. “Much of current interprovincial travel is work related and therefore cannot be restricted. Public health officials tell us what is most important is for everyone to obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules.”

      Consequently, Horgan said that B.C. won’t be imposing travel restrictions at this time.

      Nonetheless, he said that they will continue to monitor the situation and may take action if necessary.

      "If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers,” he said.

      In addition, he said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “exploring further international travel restrictions” and that B.C. is prepared to provide support.

      Horgan said when he spoke at the Council of the Federation and First Ministers' meetings today, he asked all of his colleagues to tell citizens that now is not the time for non-essential travel.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.