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BC public safety minister declares provincial state of emergency

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 1:54 PDT, Wed March 18, 2020

In a press conference today (March 18), provincial public safety minister Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency.

This declaration is a response to recent reports from BC’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix. Provincial and federal resources will be deployed in what Farnworth calls an “all-hands-on-deck approach.”

The initial state of emergency lasts 14 days and can be extended or rescinded as necessary. BC’s last state of emergency was declared during the 2017 wildfire season and lasted 10 weeks.

Farnworth also encouraged social distancing whenever possible. “Stay home if you’re sick,” he added.

On Monday, provincial legislature will resume—with a reduced number of people—to take legislative action on the state of emergency.

Monday’s legislature will include 12 members and the speaker, said Farnworth. The quorum of 12 will include two members of the opposition and two members of the Green Party. 

The members of legislature will discuss the Employment Standards Act in order to protect workers.

Farnworth said the supply chains are working as intended. “There is no place for price gouging,” said Farnworth. “There is no place for individuals or retailers taking advantage of what is an unprecedented health situation.”

“We are going to get through this together,” said Farnworth. 

For more information, visit the provincial government’s website at https://news.gov.bc.ca/.

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