Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following the latest update on the COVID-19 response in the province during a press conference from the rose garden at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday June 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. premier eyes Phase Three of COVID-19 restart plan for ‘sometime next week’

This could allow for internal travel restrictions to be lifted, John Horgan says

B.C.’s premier is hoping the province can enter into Phase Three of its COVID-19 restart plan by as early as next week.

Premier John Horgan told reporters during a news conference in Victoria on Wednesday (June 17) that he himself has started looking to book a summer vacation within the province for sometime in the next few months.

“Although the risk of the pandemic has not left us [and] COVID-19 remains in British Columbia and people have to remain vigilant, we are in a place where we can start talking about, what does the future look like?” Horgan said.

The premier said if health officials determine it is safe to enter Phase Three, he hopes that includes a lift on internal travel restrictions to help boost the hurting tourism sector.

“We’re very concerned about our international borders and I’m very grateful that the federal government renewed border restrictions until near the end of July, but when it comes to British Columbians and Canadians travelling this summer in B.C, I’m hopeful that we have record numbers, because we need that.”

As of Thursday (June 18), B.C. had recorded 2,775 cases of the novel coronavirus. A total of 168 people have died from the respiratory illness, while 2,422 have fully recovered.

COVID-19: Here’s a phase-by-phase look at how B.C. hopes to reopen parts of society

B.C. officially entered Phase Two the Monday after May long weekend, allowing for campgrounds to start taking reservations again and restaurants to reopen to dine-in guests, among other restrictions being lifted.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that B.C. won’t move into the next phase until the daily number of new test-positive cases continues to trend downward and maintains at a reasonable low.

Since some restrictions were eased, B.C. has recorded a few minor bumps along the way – particularly as people work to interpret some of the guidelines for physical distancing. In one instance, 15 people who attended the same 30-person gathering tested positive for the novel coronavirus in early June.

A week later, a confirmed case at an unidentified fast-food restaurant was a noted “warning” on how contagious the virus is, Henry said at the time.

B.C. care homes continue to remain the hotspots of concern, with two outbreaks declared this week in the Fraser Health Authority.

Health officials are expected to release new model numbers next week.

Even if B.C. enters the next phase, Henry has repeatedly told British Columbians to prepare for a different summer than ever before – one that involves an indefinite ban on gatherings of more than 50 people and “bigger spaces with fewer faces.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

Donnie’s Golf Tournament heads into year six

All proceeds of the event go to the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Clearwater Elks taking a hit because of COVID-19

President Marnie Burnell noted the group was already hurting before the pandemic came into effect

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Most Read