B.C. Premier John Horgan has extended the province’s state of emergency a third time, and will therefore remain in place for two more weeks.
The Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth initially declared a state of emergency on March 18th which was in effect for 14 days.
It was then extended twice by Premier Horgan, once on March 31st and again on April 15th.
Today’s announcement further extends the state of emergency until the end of day on May 13th, 2020. Declarations of emergency can be extended by the province by increments of 14 days at a time.
Premier Horgan addressed the public after his weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to assure everyone that the economy will be returning to “something resembling normal in the near term”.
Specific plans to increase economic activity will be announced next week, but the Premier says their approach will be “slow, methodical, and phased.”
Unlike other provinces that are now restarting various sectors of their economy, B.C. will not be making that announcement as industries were never fully shut down to begin with.
“The approach of BC was to focus on how could we keep sectors operating safely rather than shutting them down until we could open them up again,” said Horgan. Next week’s announcements will relate to increasing economic activity rather than restarting individual sectors.
After giving credit to the restaurant sector for coming up with innovative ways to function safely, Horgan says he is now asking individual industries to present their ideas on how they may adapt to to the new normal.
The provincial government is also working with WorkSafe BC to come up with specific guidelines for businesses to follow once they reopen.
“Physical distancing is going to be here for a long time and we all need to get our head around that,” added Horgan, speaking to the measures that everyone needs to keep taking in the foreseeable future.
Horgan says B.C. has made great progress in flattening the curve in comparison with other provinces, and must continue to keep following health precautions.
“We are the envy of the country.”
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 3,197,198.
Over 226,500 people have died from the illness and 992,900 have made a full recovery.