(Premier John Horgan)

BC Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday morning that he would be contacting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to call for a ‘pan-Canadian’ approach to encouraging non-essential travel across the country during the second wave of the pandemic.

The focus of a media availability on November 18 revolved whether travel restrictions are imminent in B.C. and what Horgan plans to ask of the federal government.

Specifically, the Premier said he plans to call on Prime Minister Trudeau to work with Premiers on a national approach to calling on Canadians to stay home and avoid non-essential travel.

When asked about whether there would be any enforcement of non-essential travel rules within B.C. in the meantime — like implementing a 14-day quarantine for non-essential travellers visiting Vancouver Island — Horgan repeated his statement that only essential travel should be taking place at the moment.

“This is not the time to go storm watching on the west coast of Vancouver Island,” he said, while maintaining that in his view, “quarantine on Island may not be the best way forward.”

The decision of whether or not to implement it lies in the hands of Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health Chief Medical Health officer, who originally called for the move.

For his part, Horgan acknowledged that tight travel restrictions among provinces in the Atlantic bubble on the other side of the country have successfully kept case counts low, but said the same is not possible for B.C.

“We have free mobility in Canada, it’s part of our citizenship… [but] we don’t have the ability to do that, we have large borders … we’re focused on international borders,” he said, referring to rising case counts south of the border and the focus on keeping the Canada-U.S. border closed to non-essential travel.

“We want to make sure we have an approach to travel that isn’t inconsistent with Canadian citizenship.”

During the briefing, the Premier also called on citizens in the Fraser Health region, where high COVID-19 case numbers have been driving the second wave of the pandemic in B.C., to amend their behaviours.

Horgan echoed public health officials in urging British Columbians to keep their social circles small and refrain from gathering in large groups at this time.

The Premier also alluded to amendments and new orders to come from the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, during her regular Thursday press briefing this week.

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