New restrictions on travel across health authorities in British Columbia are in effect in the province as of today (April 23) and will last through May 25.
The ban on non-essential travel, as announced Friday by Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth, generally splits the province into three regions consisting of some combined health authorities. Under the new public health orders, Northern and Interior Health are unified as one region, as are Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health; Island Health stands alone, with some intra-region exceptions.
The restrictions, aimed at curbing further spread of COVID-19 within the province, are focused on recreational travel, according to Farnworth, and violating the ban will carry consequences.
Messaging for the past year in B.C. has been for people to "stay local," and that message remains the same, despite the wide geography the combined regions offer residents as far as sanctioned movement goes within their home or neighbouring health authority. However, leaving your own area remains discouraged, said Farnworth, offering examples like hiking, where a North Shore resident is asked to go for hikes at Grouse, and a Tri-Cities resident is asked to stick to Burke Mountain.
However, there are some "reasonable exemptions," said Farnworth for what would take someone out of their home health authority region.
Here are all the exemptions to the non-essential travel restrictions in B.C. in place April 23 through May 25, 2021:
* moving to a different principal residence or assisting a person to move for that purpose;
* carrying out a work-related purpose, including volunteer work;
* commercially transporting goods;
* receiving health-care services or social services or assisting someone to receive those services;
* attending court;
* complying with a court order;
* exercising parental responsibilities, including spending parenting time with a minor child;
* accessing child care;
* attending classes or receiving training through a post-secondary institution or school;
* responding to emergencies or critical incidents, including incidents that involve search and rescue operations;
* providing care or assistance to a person who requires care or assistance because of a psychological, behavioural or health condition, or a physical, cognitive or mental impairment;
* visiting by an essential visitor or a social visitor as provided in the guidance of the Ministry of Health set out in a document titled Ministry of Health - Overview of Visitors in Long-Term Care and Seniors' Assisted Living that went into effect on April 1, 2021;
* attending a funeral service;
* travelling under the authority of a variance of an order issued by the provincial health officer under the Public Health Act if the variance was made before this order comes into force;
* travelling for the purpose of avoiding the risk of abuse or violence;
* travelling by residents of the local health area of Bella Coola Valley or Central Coast to Port Hardy to obtain essential goods and supplies;
* travelling by residents of the local health area of Hope to Chilliwack to obtain essential goods and supplies;
* travelling by residents of the Northern Health Authority region into the Nis×a'a Health Authority region;
* travelling by residents of the Nis×a'a Health Authority region into the Northern-Interior Health Authority region;
* returning to a person's own principal residence.
Note: the list of exemptions was updated by the B.C. government on April 30, 2021 to include people who are avoiding abuse, as well as people who are visiting long-term care facilities.