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State of emergency extended to continue B.C.’s COVID-19 response

Press Release

May 11, 2021

VICTORIA – The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on May 25, 2021, to allow staff to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.

“As our vaccine rollout speeds up, we need everyone to register to be notified as soon as it’s their turn,” said Premier John Horgan. “Getting vaccinated and continuing to follow public health guidance helps support our health-care workers and gets us all a step closer to putting the pandemic behind us.”

The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency.

“Most British Columbians have been doing their part to stay close to home and follow public health guidance, and that commitment is showing as the number of cases and hospitalizations begin to ease,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “But we’re not through this yet, and everyone must continue to follow the rules or face enforcement. More importantly, by following orders for the next while and avoiding non-essential travel, you’ll be doing your part to get us all through this sooner.”

The Province continues, with the support of police and other enforcement officials, to use measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19. This includes issuing tickets for owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering contravening the provincial health officer’s orders.

On July 10, 2020, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed should the provincial state of emergency end.

Learn More:

On Dec. 16, 2020, enforcement measures were expanded. Details are available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0108-002083

On Nov. 24, 2020, a mask enforcement order was introduced under the EPA, requiring masks for people over the age of 12 in public indoor settings, unless they are exempt.
Details are available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EMBC0061-001960

For information on all recent orders and guidance, as well as general COVID-19 information for all British Columbians, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19

For more information and latest medical updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit the centre‘s website: http://www.bccdc.ca/

A backgrounder follows.

Contact:

Jordan Turner
Media Relations
Emergency Management BC
250 952-5062


BACKGROUNDER

Facts about B.C.’s state of emergency

  • Between Aug. 21, 2020, and May 7, 2021, 1,974 violation tickets were issued, including:
    • 361 $2,300 tickets to owners or organizers contravening the provincial health officer’s (PHO) order on gatherings and events;
    • 54 $2,300 violation tickets for contravention of the PHO’s Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order;
    • 1508 $230 tickets issued to individuals who failed to comply with PHO orders;
    • 50 $575 tickets to individuals who promoted or attended a non-compliant event; and
    • 1 $575 ticket to an individual for failing to comply with the travel restrictions.
  • The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is continually working to align the Emergency Program Act (EPA) enforcement orders with those of the restrictions enacted by the PHO.
  • Additionally, since the pandemic began, police agencies in British Columbia have issued 153 violation tickets to individuals who were in contravention of the Federal Quarantine Act, totalling $288,736.
    • The purpose of the Quarantine Act is to protect public health by taking comprehensive measures to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, WorkSafeBC has conducted 26,588 COVID-19 related work site inspections.
  • On Dec. 16, 2020, the Province announced enhanced enforcement measures to keep British Columbians safe and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. This included strengthening COVID-19 fine collection measures and asking provincial enforcement officers to support police and increase enforcement by issuing violation tickets during their normal course of duties or when in public places.
  • Declarations of provincial states of emergency may be issued by the minister responsible under the EPA.
  • The provincial government can extend the period of a declaration made by the minister responsible for further periods of up to 14 days at a time.

Contact:

Jordan Turner
Media Relations
Emergency Management BC
250 952-5062

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect

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