On Wednesday, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.
This declaration will enable federal, provincial, and local resources to be delivered in a joint, coordinated manner to support Canadians during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Farnworth clarifies that the provincial state of emergency will allow authorities to implement measures to ensure people have access to essential goods and services, and make decisions related to the supply chain of goods.
It will also allow the Ministry of Public Safety to issue orders to back up Dr. Bonnie Henry’s provincial health orders in light of the province’s public health emergency.
At this time, Minister Farnworth assures the public that the province’s supply chains are in good shape.
Today’s order also gives the province the power to ban the resale of essential goods, which should help with issues of British Columbians reselling mass purchased goods at high prices.
The BC legislature will reconvene on Monday morning with reduced number of members – a quorum of about 12 members – to pass emergency measures that, among others, will provide emergency supports to B.C. residents.
Monday’s legislature sitting will address changes to the Employment Act to protect workers from losing employment if they have to self isolate or stay home due to sickness.
More details on those measures will be made public by Finance Minister Carole James in the coming days.
“These are extraordinary times,” adds Farnworth.
Wednesday’s declaration was made based on recommendations from provincial health officials.
The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days, once issued, and may be extended or rescinded as necessary.
This morning, the federal government announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.
On Tuesday, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would be tightening its borders and denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada. U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule.
Moreover international flights will now be restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 215,529.
Nearly 9,000 people have died from the illness and 82,909 have made a full recovery.