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B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth

B.C. extends COVID-19 state of emergency

Wednesday, January 06, 2021 @ 9:18 AM | By Ian Burns

B.C. has once again extended its provincial state of emergency to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of emergency will remain in place until the end of the day on Jan. 19. This will allow health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the provincial Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the province’s pandemic response.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth

“There’s hope on the horizon for the new year with vaccines beginning, but I want to caution everyone to keep following public health orders,” Premier John Horgan said in a release. “British Columbians have been working hard to flatten the curve, and to do that, we can’t let up too soon. We need everyone to hang in there and continue to do what they need to do to keep case numbers low.”

The extension of the provincial state of emergency is based on recommendations from B.C.’s health and emergency management officials. The original declaration was made on March 18, 2020, the day after provincial health officer (PHO) Bonnie Henry declared a public health emergency.

On Dec. 16, the province announced enhanced enforcement measures to keep British Columbians safe and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. This included strengthening COVID-19 fine-collection measures and asking provincial enforcement officers to actively support police and increase enforcement by issuing violation tickets as appropriate during their normal course of duties or when in public places.

“Most British Columbians are following public health orders, and that’s what will help us get case numbers back down,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “Having said that, we’re continuing to use enforcement and fines for those who insist on putting lives at risk by ignoring orders. We continue to strengthen the tools officials need to keep people safe, and we won’t hesitate to use them.”

Declarations of provincial states of emergency may be issued by the minister responsible under the EPA. The provincial government can extend the period of a declaration made by the minister responsible for further periods of up to 14 days at a time.

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