After days of speculation, the BC Provincial Government officially released the latest travel restrictions for BC, and they’ll stay in place for at least a month. The new restrictions come with a whole host of changes, from redefining health ‘zones’ in the province to introducing legal changes. Let’s check it out.
Before we even get started, it’s important to note that these new travel restrictions only apply to non-essential travel. So, if you’re travelling to receive medical care, perform an essential service, etc… don’t worry too much. If you had a camping trip planned in Tofino or something, then keep reading.
First up, and most important, is that BC’s regional health areas have changed dramatically. For Vancouver area residents, the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions have now been combined into the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley Region. Vancouver Island is more or less staying the same, and the Northern/Interior Health Regions have been combined for the rest of the province.
New travel restrictions are now in effect to help slow the spread of COVID-19. There are three new Travel Regions and until May 25, non-essential travel is not allowed between these regions. Stay local – do not travel unless it’s for essential reasons. #CovidBC
— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) April 23, 2021
As a result of this, non-essential travel within one’s own region is discouraged, but not illegal. Personally, we think this is a ‘meet us in the middle’ move, aiming to mitigate the negative mental health effects of intense health restrictions. So, no camping in the Rockies, but a weekend trip to Squamish is fair game. Of course, check local health restrictions before making any plans, too.
Now, on to the legal changes. Instead of letting officers conduct random checks on suspected offenders, there will be strategic checkpoints set up around the province, similar to city-level check stops to catch impaired drivers. Depending on the level of the offence, officers will be able to use the Emergency Program Act to dish out fines up to $575, at their discretion.
These new restrictions will apply to both BC residents and out-of-province travellers alike. And since they’re being implemented immediately (April 23rd to May 25th), we doubt there will be much leniency for campers on the island, or folks at an Airbnb in Vancouver, to take their time getting out of the province.
For the full press release on these new BC travel restrictions, just click here!