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Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General declares provincial state of emergency

The Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has declared a provincial state of emergency to support the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health in swift and powerful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement comes a day after Dr. Bonnie Henry declared a public health emergency.

“COVID-19 is impacting all of us touching our lives and our economy and I know it’s been hard on people. I want to assure British Columbians that our government is going everything possible to mitigate the risk for people in our province that we are facing daily shifting challenges as is everyone in this difficult time,” Minister Mike Farnworth said Wednesday.

“We need to ensure that we will continue to have the means to coordinate our response across government, across industry, and that we have the tools available to protect the most vulnerable. That is today based on the recommendations of BC’s health and emergency management officials and following Dr. Bonnie Henry’s declaration of a public health emergency, I am declaring a provincial state of emergency.”

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Farnworth said the declaration will make sure federal, provincial, and local resources are delivered in a jointly coordinated way to protect the people of our province.

“This is an all hands on deck approach,” he said. “The declaration also includes the means to secure critical supply chains, to ensure people have access to essential goods and services, and that any infrastructure to support the response to COVID-19 is readily available.”

With Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James having outlined B.C’s plan to support people and to protect workers Tuesday, Farnworth said he is working to resume the Legislature to complete this urgent government business, to expedite our response to COVID-19, and the key decisions that will need to be made in the coming days to give immediate relief to the people and businesses in B.C.

“Together we have agreed to resume the Legislutarue on Monday with a reduced number of members to pass important legislation that will ensure the continuity of government and provide important employment supports to people in our province,” Farnworth said. “Our government will do whatever is necessary to protect and support British Columbians and communities, and we will use any and all resources available to keep people safe.”

Provincial states of emergency in B.C. were previously declared in 2017 and 2018 in response to wildfires.

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