A photo of E-Comm call-taker Christie Duncan answering emergency calls (E-Comm 911)

No, we’re not joking.

E-Comm, BC’s largest emergency communications centre, is asking people to stop calling 911 about travel restrictions in BC.

The organization began receiving calls shortly after the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor, Mike Farnworth, declared the inter-provincial travel ban this morning until May 25th.

“911 is for emergencies ONLY. Help us keep the emergency lines free for people who need help from police, fire and ambulance,” said E-Comm in a tweet.

The travel ban is effective immediately and will prohibit residents from travelling outside of their health region or be at risk of a $575 fine.

The province is working with local police agencies to set up check stops at each of the health regions. Details of these check stops will be released next week, according to Minister Farnworth.

Provincial health officials are still encouraging residents to stay in their local region, despite being able to travel within your health region without penalty.

Effective immediately, BC Ferries will also ban travel outside of the Island Health region that are for leisure purposes.

Additionally, the BC Ferries said it will not schedule any extra sailings that are typically offered during the May long weekend.

The company has also added a check box to the online booking registration of the website to ensure customers read and acknowledge they are travelling for essential reasons when making a Booking.

Customers will be asked whether their travel is essential and denied if it is deemed not essential.

Here’s a list of what is deemed essential travel:

The BC government detailed a list below:

  • carrying out a work-related purpose, including volunteering
  • moving to a different principal residence or assisting a person to move
  • commercially transporting goods
  • receiving health-care services or social services or assisting someone to receive those services;
  • attending court;
  • complying with a court order;
  • accessing child care;
  • spending parenting time with a minor child;
  • attending classes or receiving training at a post-secondary institution or school;
  • responding to an emergency or a critical incident, including incidents that involve search and rescue operations;
  • providing care or assistance to a person who requires care or assistance because of:
  • a psychological, behavioral or health condition; or
  • a physical, cognitive or mental impairment.
  • visiting by an essential visitor as provided in the guidance of the Ministry of Health set out in a document titled Ministry of Health – Overview of Visitors in Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living that was in effect on April 1, 2021;
  • attending a funeral service;
  • travelling under the authority of a variance of an order issued by the provincial health officer under the Public Health Act if the variance was made before this section comes into force;
  • travelling by residents of the local health areas of Bella Coola Valley or Central Coast to Port Hardy to obtain essential goods and supplies;
  •  travelling by residents of the local health area of Hope to Chilliwack to obtain essential goods and supplies;
  • travelling by residents of the Nisga’a Health Authority region into the Northern-Interior Health Authority region; and/or
  • returning to one’s own principal residence.

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