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'Stay home, stay safe': Premier Horgan provides update on COVID-19 in B.C.

"COVID-19 might be the biggest challenge our province has ever faced."
Photo: John Horgan / Facebook

Premier John Horgan addressed residents of British Columbia about the COVID-19 pandemic Tuesday evening.

"Tonight I want to speak directly to you about the COVID-19 pandemic," Horgan said at the start of his speech.

Horgan mentioned that the province has activated the COVID-19 response plan and added critical resources to the health care system, freeing up thousands of acute care beds, and increased support for seniors.

"We've restricted travel and closed our borders, we've taken extraordinary measures to keep people safe - but we have some very tough days. Families are mourning the deaths of 24 British Columbians," he stated gravely.

Horgan emphaized that the next two weeks will be critical in flattening the curve. He added that there are early signs that our actions are making a difference, but that, "we can't stop now."

"You might not feel it in your living room, but everyone is pulling together," said Horgan. 

"Stay at home as much as you can, and if you must go out, stay at least two metres away from others."

In regard to physical distancing measures, Horgan also noted that, "These are not suggestions, they are the law."

The premier also noted that the situation was not easy, but that it will not be forever.  He also thanked everyone working to provide transportation, essential goods and services, and those working in health care.

"We know you're stressed, we know you're exhausted, we know you're being pushed to the limit, we know that you've been putting yourself in harm's way, " Horgan said to health care workers. 

"Tonight, at 7 o'clock across B.C. there will be people banging pots and pans and cheering for you."

"It's our small way of saying: we're in this with you."

Horgan also addressed people who are feeling unsafe. He mentioned that B.C. is freezing rents, halting evictions, adding a monthly $500 rental aid and a $1000 emergency benefit for those who have lost their income. 

"COVID-19 may be the biggest challenge our province has ever faced," he said. 

In regard to what he's seen around the world, Horgan called it "unsettling" and "downright scary." 

"We will get through this because of the strength of our people and our communities," he assured.

"Stay home, stay safe, and we'll bend this curve together."