The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency for another two weeks in the wake of surging coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
The extension allows health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the Province's COVID-19 pandemic response.
Already in its longest state of emergency to date, the extension will continue until at least April 13. At this time, the Province will consider the recommendations of B.C.'s health and emergency management officials on whether to extend it again.
“While the finish line remains in sight, rising case counts and the spread of variants of concern mean we all must continue working together to keep each other safe,” said Premier John Horgan.
“Thanks to our vaccination plan, we have been able to take positive strides toward protecting more British Columbians. We’re doing the best we can to get vaccinations into arms as soon as possible, but in the meantime, I urge everyone to double down on their efforts to control the spread and continue to follow public safety guidelines.”
COVID-19 Related Measures Act
The Province continues to use, with the support of police and other enforcement officials, measures under the EPA to limit the spread of COVID-19, including issuing tickets for owners, operators and event organizers who host an event or gathering contravening the PHO’s orders.
“We’re still in a time where the virus continues to be a risk to health and public safety, yet some people are just not getting the message,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Last week, we more than doubled fines for those who promote or attend a non-compliant gathering from $230 to $575, and we won’t hesitate to take further action if people continue to put safety at risk. I urge all British Columbians to keep a level head and say no to these kinds of events until we can get COVID-19 under control.”
On July 10, 2020, 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.