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EDITORIAL: Stop looking for loopholes in travel restrictions

The end of the pandemic is within reach, this is no time to let down our guard
Interior News Editorial

New COVID-related non-essential travel restrictions were announced in full on April 23, and the questions immediately ensued.

“Where can we go?”

“Does this mean we can’t go to Prince George?”

“Can we still go to Haida Gwaii?”

The quick response to those questions is, just stay home. We must stop looking for loopholes.

Technically, you can travel anywhere in the Northern and Interior Health Regions — if you must do so, for essential purposes.

The government has listed numerous reasonable exceptions to the ban.

They include travel for work; transport of essential goods; court appearances, and compliance of court orders; accessing child care; parental time with a minor (i.e. shared custody); health care responsibilities; and attending funerals.

A camping trip to the Cariboo is not essential. A spring golf getaway to the Okanagan is not essential. A weekend in Stewart is not essential.

Banning this type of travel is not an infringement on any “civil liberty.”

Following these regulations is a civic duty. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and not believing that does not make it any less real. The 3.1 million deaths worldwide make it real. The 24,000-plus deaths in Canada make it real. The 1,500-plus deaths in B.C. make it real.

The majority of us have followed the rules all along. And really, these new restrictions aren’t all that new. Dr. Bonnie Henry has been pleading with British Columbians to “stay safe” for a year now. She has offered guidance in that regard, and throughout the pandemic, that guidance has included a request to curb travelling.

Most of us have listened. But because some of us refuse to, sterner measures have to be imposed. “Please” was not working. Hopefully, this will.

It is very disappointing that after a year of this, with the vaccine program ramping up and light at the end of the tunnel, we are still recording 1,000 new cases every day when it is within our own power to stop the spread.

Stay safe, stay home, get vaccinated.

RELATED: B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved