'Stay close to home' B.C. premier says about travel within province and beyond

B.C. has managed to curb the onslaught of COVID-19 and intends to slowly open up businesses and public spaces by mid-May, but don’t start planning any sort of travel just yet.

“This is not a time for a road trip to another community for a hike or a holiday,” Premier John Horgan said today, May 6, while announcing provincial parks for day-use gatherings after May 14.

“If you have a provincial park in your area, by all means visit it. Do not travel great distances, we need to stay close to home.”

When asked for specific direction on travel this coming May long weekend, Horgan said that road trips should be off the books until at least summer.

READ MORE: B.C. loosening social distancing measures in move towards new normal

“When we get into phase three (of the restart plan) later into the summer, that might be the better time to get to that second property if you have the good fortune of owning a second property in British Columbia, a cabin or a cottage,” Horgan said.

“If you're a taxpayer … you have a right to be there but again you also have to acknowledge and recognize the permanent residents in those communities may not have access to acute care facilities may be concerned about the spread of the virus in their community.”

He added that every corner of British Columbia has something to offer.

“Wherever you live is an outstanding place — stay there and enjoy it,” he said.

As for travel that goes beyond road trips, Horgan said that will be some time in the offing and largely decided by the market.

Regardless, precautions will have to be in place and the regular holiday images of packed airports with “people side by side, frustrated at the ticket wickets” is just not on for this year.

“We cannot have that type of behaviour — that is just not going to be on,” Horgan said, adding that he expected to see more travel get underway later in the summer “if at all.”

“International travel again will be determined by the number of flights and the number of people that are prepared to get on them,” he said.

“These are personal choices that people will have to make. We're going to support them as best we can, by making sure that there are our guidelines in place for appropriate operation that will keep people safe and will allow the economy to continue to restart and grow into the future.”

There are 23 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. bring the total number of cases to 2,255.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said today there were 23 new cases of COVID-19, amounting to 2,255 cases, 74 people are currently hospitalized and 19 of those are in intensive care. The rest are recovering at home.

There were three deaths from the virus, all in the Lower Mainland, bringing the death toll to 124 people.

To date,1,494 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.

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