Update COVID-19:Province moves into phase three

Update COVID-19:Province moves into phase three

(Government of B.C. flickr)

Sophie Gray

Local Journalism Initiative

Premier John Horgan announced in a press conference today that the province is officially moving into phase three of the restart program, effective immediately. 

He and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry believe because of the success of phase two and case counts remaining low, it is safe to continue moving forward. 

“Well the dangers and risks of COVID-19 have not passed, British Columbians are more confident and we’re acting in a way that will allow us to take that next step,” said Horgan. “Under the guidance of the provincial health officer, we are now able to move slowly into phase three of our four phase plan.”

Phase three allows movie theatres, hotels and resorts, parks, and the film industry to reopen. It also mean that travel within the province is possible.

But Horgan and Henry firmly reminded British Columbians that social distancing measures, staying home when sick, and washing your hands regularly are still vitally important.

The move into the new phase comes as welcome news to the local tourism sector, which has taken a beating because of COVID-19.

Some communities, however, remain concerned about welcoming visitors even from within the province. 

“Phase three will also allow more opportunities for us to travel safely and respectfully within the province,” said Horgan. “We believe that if we’re careful about how we approach communities we’ve not been to in a while and we visit respecting the views and values of people in those communities, phase three achievements will be as positive as those of phase two.”

Horgan said he is pleased with the progress B.C. has made in successfully flattening the curve, even if COVID-19 is still present.

“To all British Columbians as we start phase three, congratulations. I am so proud of what we’ve been able to do as a community to lead Canada, quite frankly.”

Premier Horgan also announced the extension of the provincial state of emergency to July 7.