Premier John Horgan (The Canadian Press)

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

British Columbia’s gradual restart is gaining ground as some industries resume operations and more people leave their homes to participate in the economy, Premier John Horgan said Thursday.

He said B.C.’s successful efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the willingness of people to spend more time out in public leave him optimistic.

Horgan made the comments ahead of new job numbers due Friday and before next week’s provincial fiscal update.

The federal government’s fiscal update Wednesday forecast a deficit of more than $343 billion and up to two million people unemployed.

Horgan said Ottawa’s deficit figure is “staggering.”

“It’s incomprehensible for regular people. But that is July and we have many, many months ahead of us in the fiscal year, as well as many months ahead of us dealing with COVID-19.”

Despite the size of the federal deficit, Horgan said he will work to keep financial hurdles from standing in the way of B.C.’s recovery plans.

He said the number of passengers on transit and ferries is growing, and television and movie productions have restarted, as well as restaurants serving more customers.

“We’ve seen successes, more and more people are coming out of their homes participating in the economy, going to restaurants, shopping in retail outlets and participating, broadly speaking, in the restart of our economy,” Horgan said.

Last month, B.C.’s jobless rate was 13.4 per cent, with more than 350,000 jobs lost since the start of the pandemic.

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month in a gradual move to a third phase of its recovery plan.

The move permitted hotels, motels, spas, resorts, hostels, RV parks, provincial campgrounds and the film industry to resume operations after being shut down or restricted since March.

“People are adapting,” Horgan said. “People are finding ways to make do in this extraordinary time.”

The province announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and no new deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 3,028.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the government is preparing a couple of contingency scenarios for a possible second wave of COVID-19 with data collected in British Columbia.

“The whole plan … is making sure that we don’t ever have to go back to shutting everything down like we did in March,” she told a news conference.

Health officials know more about the virus now, so they can adapt the way the health-care system reacts, Henry said.

“We know so much now about being able to control these outbreaks and control the spread in the community that we won’t need to shut down all hospitals and that we won’t need to stop things like surgeries the way that we did in March.”

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink breaks ground on meter station in Kitimat

Meter station marks final point on pipeline that stretches from Northeast B.C.

Mayoral nominations open Sept. 1

Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill confirms she will be running for the top job

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Friendship Centre optimistic MMIWG mural will be painted this year

Following trauma-informed healing workshops, project is now in the design phase

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Most Read