(Mike Farnworth/BC Gov News)

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, has outlined the enforcement details of travel restrictions that have limited residents for travel within three health authorities in BC until May 25th.

Road checks will occur at highway corridors connecting three different regional zones of the province: Island Health, Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health, and Interior and Northern Health.

The RCMP will deploy a trained, dedicated team to manage and enforce road check locations.

When stopped at a road check restricting non-essential travel, police will only have the authority to request:

  • a driver’s name, address, and driver’s license.
  • documentation regarding driver’s name and address (for example, secondary identification that confirms a driver’s residential address if recently moved).
  • the purpose of the driver’s travel.

Documentation regarding travel is not required and passengers will not be asked for identification.

If police have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has travelled for a non-essential purpose, they can direct the traveller to turn around and leave the region.

Contravening orders could result in a $230 fine, and violation will result in a $575 fine.

Police cannot engage in arbitrary vehicle or street checks.

Since the travel restrictions were announced on April 23rd, BC Ferries reported that vehicle traffic was down more than 25%, and passenger traffic down more than 30%, compared to the weekend prior.

Resort communities and accommodation businesses have also said they saw declines in out-of-region visitors and bookings, and BC Parks has reported more than 5,000 cancellations in the past few weeks.

“These restrictions on non-essential travel are saving lives, it’s in the best interest of all British Columbians to follow them, and I know most are given the significant drop we’ve seen in out-of-region travel,” Farnworth said.

“I want to be clear that the intent of this order is not punishment, but rather education around non-essential travel prevention to protect us all from the spread of COVID-19.”

Essential Travel

Alongside the announcement of the detailed measures of enforcement of travel restrictions, Minister Farnworth added two more reasons to the essential travel list

If someone is fleeting the risk of abuse or violence and the expansion of who can visit long term care homes.

The other essential reasons for travel include:

  • 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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