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

B.C. extends state of emergency for two more weeks

Wednesday, January 20, 2021 @ 9:29 AM | By Ian Burns

B.C. has once again formally extended the provincial state of emergency put in place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state of emergency, which was declared last March, is now extended until the end of the day on Feb. 2, which the government says will allow health and emergency management officials to continue to use their extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA).

“I know this has felt like the longest winter ever, but we’re starting to see light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, so don’t give up now,” said Premier John Horgan. “The hard work of British Columbians in flattening the curve continues to pay off, vaccines are on the way, and we’re working on a strong recovery. There is too much at stake to let our guard down now.”

 Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth

In mid-December, 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 support police and increase enforcement by issuing violation tickets during their normal course of duties or when in public places.

“I want to thank all those British Columbians who are following public health orders, as well as the police working hard to enforce those orders with the support of bylaw officers and local governments,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “And to the minority of British Columbians who continue to miss the message that we’re all in this together, we will continue to penalize selfish and unlawful actions and work to ensure the public does not face unnecessary risks.”

On July 10, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed, should the provincial state of emergency end. Since Aug. 21, 693 violation tickets have been handed out for violations of public health orders in the province, with an additional 85 tickets given to individuals who were in contravention of the federal Quarantine Act.

There are 4,331 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 329 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19, 70 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

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