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Petition urges B.C. government to close all borders

FILE PHOTO - Premier John Horgan said the province would be seeking legal advice on an inter-provincial travel ban.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
January 21, 2021 - 1:00 PM

A petition started urging the province to close its borders due to a new COVID-19 strain has gathered almost 7,000 signatures since it was created roughly one week ago.

"Mr. Horgan it is imperative that you close the border — for one month — to non-essential air, ground and sea traffic and quarantine travellers so COVID-19 can be contained and stopped. (Especially) in light of more virulent strains already in B.C.," creator Christian Stapff wrote in a petition addressed to Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Stapff wrote that this method has been effective in Australia.

READ MORE: B.C. considering travel ban on out-of-province visitors: Premier Horgan

Horgan said in a news conference last week he would be seeking advice on whether B.C. can ban out-of-province visitors.

“I want to put this either to rest so British Columbians understand that we cannot do that, that we’re not going to do that, or there is a way to do it and we’re going to work with other provinces to achieve it,” Horgan said during a news conference, Jan. 14. “People have been talking about it for months and months and I think it’s time we put it to bed, finally.”

His comments came in response to a question about Whistler doctors being concerned about out-of-province visitors. He noted it’s a concern throughout the province.

However, the coalition of tourism and accommodation associations from the Lower Mainland said the province must steer away from an outright ban and work instead with the industry and communities to better educate travelers on health and safety protocols.

Vivek Sharma, chair of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., said a non-essential ban would further cripple an already struggling tourism sector and would heighten fears and misperceptions toward visitors.

READ MORE: B.C. travel ban will cripple struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

- With files from The Canadian Press

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