B.C.’s state of emergency introduced last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended until May 12.
“It’s going to take resolute action from all of us to make progress and not give up progress,” said Premier John Horgan in announcing the extension.
The provincial state of emergency was originally declared on March 18 and was last extended on April 15.
Asked about the economic fallout resulting from the pandemic, Horgan hinted that news relating to the reopening of some sectors would be coming next week.
“We are focusing on a slow, methodical, phased-in approach,” he said, noting that B.C. allowed more industries to remain open than other provinces.
Financial stimulus promised for quick rebound
He also said industries important to the economy like the tech sector and film production are positioned to bounce back quickly in B.C. once restrictions are lifted.
“Keep in mind that [Finance Minister] Carole James put aside $1.5 billion for stimulus that we have not touched,” said Horgan. “This will be used for our rebound.”
According to Horgan, B.C.’s strong financial position has allowed politicians to plot a more cautious and public health-centered return from the pandemic.
He said it was unlikely schools would reopen in a significant way before September.
The declaration of a provincial state of emergency allows for the preservation of supply chains of food and other essential items, as well as giving the province powers to enact emergency measures.
A number of restrictions related to housing have been put in place under the current state of emergency, like the banning of evictions and rent hikes. Profiteering and hoarding of food and medical supplies have also been outlawed.