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RCMP set up road checks to enforce travel restrictions with hefty fines

(From the files of Dione Wearmouth staff)

BC’s Solicitor General Mike Farnworth provided an update on the enforcement of the travel restrictions implemented last week.

Starting immediately, RCMP can set up road checks to enforce provincial orders banning travel across the three defined regions in BC, which can be enforced with a fine.

Failure to comply with the requirements at a road check or the direction given by a police officer may result in a $230 fine, violating the travel order is a $575 fine.

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If an RCMP officer believes a person has travelled for a non-essential purpose, they can direct the traveller to turn around and leave the region.

These checks can only be set up on highway corridors that connect health regions by members of the RCMP.

When stopped, RCMP can ask for a driver’s name, address and license as well as any available documentation regarding a drivers name and address.

“There is no authority for pedestrians to be stopped on the streets, or for arbitrary inspections or investigations to be conducted by police,” explained Farnworth, “these enforcement orders apply to the site where the road checks are taking place.”

Police can also ask for the purpose of the driver’s travel, but documentation supporting the reason isn’t required.

Passengers aren’t required to provide any documentation.

“Police are not authorized to record personal information unless an enforcement action is taken, meaning police will only record information if a driver is in violation of the order,” he added.

The road checks may be put in place at any time until the order is lifted at 12:01 a.m. on May 25, 2021, (after the May long weekend).

Additionally, there have been two more non-essential reasons to travel added to the list.

Now anyone travelling for the purpose of avoiding the risk of abuse or violence and those travelling to visit long term care and assisted living facilities.

Since the restrictions were implemented last Friday, resort communities and accommodation businesses have contacted the Province to note significant declines in out-of-region visitors and booking.

Meanwhile, over the past few weeks, BC Parks has reported more than 5,000 cancellations.

The following is the list of reasons deemed essential for inter-regional travel:

  • 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.
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