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B.C. 'can't prevent people from travelling,' says premier

The B.C. government will not impose travel restrictions at this time
B.C. Premier John Horgan says he will not restrict interprovincial travel following a legal review. Photograph By Province of BC/Flickr

British Columbia “can’t prevent people from travelling” to and from the province, said Premier John Horgan after seeking a legal review on a potential border lockdown to stem the transmission of COVID-19.

Finding that much of the current interprovincial travel is work-related, and therefore essential, it cannot be restricted, Horgan stated in a written statement late Thursday, Jan. 21.

“Public health officials tell us what is most important is for everyone to obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules,” he said.

“Therefore, we will not be imposing travel restrictions at this time.”

Horgan went on to say that if evidence surfaced that interprovincial travel was contributing to higher transmission rates of coronavirus, the province would move to restrict non-essential travel.

After speaking to other premiers across Canada, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, Horgan said the prime minister “is exploring further international travel restrictions, and B.C. stands ready to assist.”

Horgan’s statement comes as a petition circulated online Thursday calling for the province to seal B.C.'s border. As of Thursday afternoon, it had garnered nearly 10,000 backers.