As B.C. moves toward its new normal, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is extending the provincial state of emergency to support continued co-ordination of the pandemic response.
“Because of our determination and sacrifices over the past months, we’re now in a position to carefully move toward the next chapter in our response to COVID-19, but we must not lose sight of the challenges that are ahead,” said Premier John Horgan. “At each and every step forward, your government will continue in its commitment to keep our communities safe and support people through this difficult time.”
Government recently announced BC’s Restart Plan, laying out a series of steps and principles that everyone in B.C. will take together to protect people and ensure that the province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.
“As we look forward to increasing our social and economic activity in B.C., we must remember that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Farnworth. “Our province continues to be in a state of emergency, and we will continue in our co-ordinated response to keep people safe, support our health-care system and ensure our supply chains are secure.”
The current state of emergency is being extended through the end of the day on May 26, 2020. During the last two weeks of the provincial state of emergency, government has taken action to support British Columbians by:
* supporting over 400 people’s transition from unsafe encampments in Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver, and Topaz Park and the Pandora corridor in Victoria, into safer, temporary accommodation as a first step toward more secure housing;
* opening applications for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers, a one-time tax-free payment of $1,000 for eligible British Columbians;
* making more supports available for communities following a rise in racist incidents targeting Asian people during the COVID-19 pandemic; and
* building on measures to help the forest sector by deferring stumpage fees for three months to help people, communities and forest companies.
The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials. Farnworth made the original declaration on March 18, 2020, after Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, declared a public health emergency the previous day.
The province has created 1 888 COVID-19 (1 888 268-4319) to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about COVID-19. This includes the latest information on travel recommendations and physical distancing, as well as access to support and resources from the provincial and federal governments. The call line is available seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time), in 110 languages. People with questions related to their health and COVID-19 should call 811.