With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the country, a growing number of British Columbians are questioning the need for restrictions on inter-provincial travel.
While asking visitors from other provinces to quarantine upon their arrival in British Columbia might make sense from a public health standpoint, the provincial government is hesitant to place any restrictions on travel.
“The review of our legal options made it clear we can’t prevent people from travelling to British Columbia,” Premier John Horgan said in a statement on Jan. 21. “We can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are causing harm to the health and safety of British Columbians. Much of current interprovincial travel is work related and therefore cannot be restricted.”
Instead, the provincial government under the guidance of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry have introduced restrictions banning gatherings of any size and prohibiting visits to other households except for single people.
However, other provinces have taken steps to restrict visitors from out of province.
A pair of Vancouver residents were charged in Whitehorse after the couple travelled to the Yukon in an attempt to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Rodney Baker, 55, and Ekaterina Baker, 32, apparently travelled from Vancouver to Whitehorse, before chartering a private plane to Beaver Creek.
The couple were charged under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act and received two fines each, one for failing to self-isolate, and a second for failing to follow their signed declaration, adding up to $1,150 each.
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