‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise, says Premier Horgan

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise, says Premier Horgan
RICHMOND, B.C.—Premier John Horgan says Americans travelling through British Columbia on their way to Alaska or returning home should not stop in the province while COVID-19 cases continue rising in the United States.

Horgan said Thursday he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels and in stores on Vancouver Island instead of heading straight to their destination, putting local residents at risk.

He said licence plates from Texas and California have been spotted in Port Renfrew, which is not on the way to Alaska.

Horgan said he has spoken with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland about the need for her to discuss the issue with American officials.

B.C. has kept its infection rates low and the province’s progress should not be lost to “queue jumpers” as outbreaks of COVID-19 have increased in many states, he said.

“Outbreaks in Washington state, California, Arizona, Texas are absolutely unacceptable. We have to maintain our border security so we can protect the progress we’ve made here in British Columbia,” Horgan said.

“We do not want to make it more difficult for people to get home but if you’re going home you should go straight home. You shouldn’t be stopping along the way to enjoy the sights and sounds of British Columbia. That’s not part of the plan.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in mid-June that the federal government is looking into reports of U.S. tourists flouting measures around the border shutdown.

The federal government extended the mandatory quarantine order for most people entering Canada until the end of August to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The order made under the Quarantine Act, which first came into effect in late March, was set to expire at midnight Tuesday, but will now remain in effect until Aug. 31.

Horgan said he has maintained during 15 consecutive weeks of meetings with the other premiers, Trudeau and Freeland that the border needs to remain closed until the U.S. demonstrates it has “a handle on this pandemic.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said those coming into the province should recognize that British Columbians have a vested interest in making sure visitors follow “our travel manners.”

“We’ve done a lot here and it has been a sacrifice for everybody in this province and so there are concerns there are people coming in from jurisdictions that are still very much at risk,” she told a news conference in Victoria.

Henry said she supports closing the border to non-essential travel, adding that the situation in Washington state and the broader United States is “challenging.”

“They have been actively working for, as we know, a long time to control the outbreak,” she said.

“I think it really speaks to once you get a level of transmission in the community with this virus, it is so, so challenging to get ahead of it and that is one of the things that we’ve been able to do here in B.C. early on with the testing that we had, and here in Canada. We seem to be managing it but we know that there’s still risks.”

Sign Up Now

Health Minister Adrian Dix said he wants the border to be closed beyond August.

The provincial government announced three additional deaths due to COVID-19 since Tuesday, bringing the total number of people who have died to 177. There have been 24 new cases, for a total of 2,940.
Read more on Toronto Star
News Topics :
Similar Articles :
VANCOUVER Reports that U.S. residents are vacationing in British Columbia as their country s COVID 19 crisis continues spiralling out of control are a serious concern, Premier John...
VANCOUVER—Ottawa has announced new mandatory restrictions on Americans driving through Canada to get to Alaska, amid a litany of complaints from Canadians concerned about COVID 19 transmission. Travellers must now attach...
VICTORIA Premier John Horgan says people in British Columbia should congratulate themselves for their efforts to flatten the COVID 19 curve, but it’s still too early to loosen restrictions. Horgan...
VICTORIA—Drivers in British Columbia with out of province licence plates, especially those from the United States, should consider taking transit or riding a bicycle if they feel harassed by local residents, says...
VANCOUVER Two more people have died from COVID 19 in British Columbia, the first time more than one such death has been recorded in a 24 hour period since...