Sports teams have continued to travel into or out of B.C. and COVID-19 infections have spread as a result, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.
“We know there are many people who want to travel, who are coming here from other provinces for recreation and sport, and we know that there are sports teams in B.C. that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we’ve put in place,” Henry said at a pandemic briefing Dec. 2.
“For example, there’s a hockey team in the Interior that travelled to Alberta and has come back, and now there are dozens of people who are affected and it has spread in the community. We need to stop, right now, to protect our communities and our families and our health care workers.”
B.C.’s current advisory against all non-essential travel in or out of B.C. is set to expire on Monday, Dec. 7, and Premier John Horgan says Henry and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control team will determine by then if that will be extended. Wednesday’s result of 834 new cases and 12 additional deaths is a jump from earlier this week and suggests restrictions on travel and gatherings will likely continue.
Henry noted that B.C.’s travel advisory is not an order and the province can’t effectively sort out what is non-essential travel.
“I cannot stop you by an order from getting into your car or going onto a plane,” she said. “But I’m asking in the strongest of terms for us to stay put.”
With the holiday season approaching, a visiting relative is not considered non-essential travel.
“Making an exception for yourself, your team or your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall, and we see that this virus can exploit that very easily at this time of year,” Henry said. “I do say, though, if you have a family member who is returning home for the holidays, then that is important and that is fine. But it is critical that when they come here, they need follow all of our orders and guidelines that we have in place. That means no socializing, no going outside the home and having parties and gatherings of any kind right now.”