Through an online petition a Vancouver Island teacher is imploring B.C. Premier John Horgan to close the borders of the the province for a month and quarantine travellers in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19 strains.
Almost 8,000 others seem to agree with him.
A week ago, Christian Stapff – a teacher with School District 84 (Vancouver Island West) – started the petition to close the border to non-essential air, ground and sea traffic in order to contain and stop the spread of the virus, “especially in light of more virulent strains already in B.C.”
Stapff used the efficacy of such strict measures in Western Australia as an example to further advocate for provincial border closures.
“We implore you to take this action to save the economy and lives not yet lost,” Stapff tells the premier in his petition.
Of late calls have been mounting for the province to impose an inter-provincial travel ban after the surge of coronavirus variants in B.C.
The premier announced last week that the government was looking into the legalities of imposing such restrictions.
But closing off the borders of the province may not be a feasible solution yet said the provincial Ministry of Health in an email statement today.
The Ministry of Health told the Mirror that what works elsewhere may not work here.
“B.C. is not an island and we have many ports of entry,” said ministry spokesperson Devon Smith.
“Questions about inter-provincial travel have come up repeatedly so we are doing due diligence by seeking legal advice in order to put the matter to rest,” said Smith, and added, “Of course we can’t put up walls at our provincial borders and essential travel critical to our economy must safely continue.”
The ministry said that they are also considering economic impacts and the practicalities of such a policy, and are reaching out to key sectors of the economy to get feedback. It said that no steps will be taken without thoughtful consultation with communities and businesses affected by these decisions.
“As we roll out the vaccine, the bottom line is that public health advice remains the same – now is not a time for non-essential travel.”
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Binny Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Campbell River Mirror