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

Just Posted

Search for missing hiker resumes, then suspended again

Search for Laurence Philippsen near Gold river revived after new information received

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Rare comet dazzles night sky over Saanich Peninsula

Comet NEOWISE is passing Earth for the first time in 7,000 years

COLUMN: For Generation X, COVID-19 isolation just something to grin and bear

Segment of society has been training for this our whole lives

Island community scurrying to ban rat poisons

In-house municipal ban ‘small but important first step’ to protect wildlife, Saanich councillor says

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

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

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

More than 100 apartments for seniors approved in Nanaimo’s hospital area

Development permit issued for 1125 Seafield Cres.

Vancouver Island volunteer wins BC Hockey award

Alberni Valley’s Kellie Steel named one of nine unsung heroes through COVID-19

Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host a trio of acts

Aaron Pritchett, Alex Cuba and Valdy will each play four shows

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

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two taken to hospital after Island Highway crash near Cobble Hill

Vehicles damaged, drivers taken to hospital as incident south of Duncan temporarily snarls traffic

Owner of Langford construction company gets nine months for sexual assault

Kyle Mostowy already spent time in prison for sexually assaulting employees

Most Read