Premier says questions around enforcing B.C. travel restrictions will be answered soon

As British Columbians are told to stay put and avoid non-essential travel, there’s still a lot of confusion from people about how it’s being enforced. Ashley Burr finds out whether any fines have actually been handed out.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s been less than a week since travel restrictions were announced for B.C. with promises of $575 fines for rule-breakers heading outside of their permitted health authorities for non-essential reasons. But according to RCMP, not a single ticket has been handed out by their officers, and there’s continued confusion of how these rules are being enforced.

Last week the province said enforcement measures would become clear and B.C. Premier John Horgan is defaulting to Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, who will explain further details later this week.

“We are working with the RCMP about where we can strategically put counterattack checkpoints to remind British Columbians and to educate them on the importance of staying local, enforcement tools will be known later in the week by minister Farnworth,” Horgan says Tuesday, adding implementing travel restrictions is a two-step process.

Cpl. Chris Manseau with the BC RCMP tells CityNews they will not be doing random checks or stops to conduct travel restriction enforcement related to the new order.

The Public Safety Minister’s office told CityNews in a statement they maintain they’re looking at implementing “…periodic, targeted roadside checks only – similar to our usual winter holiday “Counterattack” anti-drinking and driving campaign. We’re looking at setting up these roadside checks at logical points near the boundaries of the regional zones as a way to discourage recreational travel.”

Simon Fraser University’s Julianne Piper is with the Pandemics and Borders Project, looking at restrictions and their impacts on the spread of COVID-19. She says she applauds the effort of implementing restrictions, but doesn’t feel the way they’re being rolled out will make much of a difference in the province’s daily COVID case counts.

“Especially with some of the mixed messaging about what it means to stay local around staying within our communities, but then getting out to hike and getting out to camp,” she says. “I guess a bit of a disappointment that these measures are going to be enforced on a wider geographical area ranging from home to Whistler to Pemberton.”

Pemberton’s mayor, Mike Richman, says he’s worried restrictions send a message that their village is open for everyone in Metro Vancouver to come visit, and he says he’s still unsure what to expect about enforcement.

However, Horgan insists answers on enforcement are on the way within the next week.

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