Victoria, BC (WNews Vancouver) – B.C. Premier John Horgan announced Tuesday his government does not intend to follow the lead of other provinces as they prepare to lift COVID-19 restrictions.
However, speaking after the throne speech, Horgan did not give away any details.
“I would suggest that we’re going to follow the same path that we have been on since the end of the pandemic began, and that is to take advice and counsel from public health officials who are working with our acute care system and working with others in the community to make sure that we’re continuing to protect people,” Horgan said.
“Restrictions, direction, and advice on restrictions will come from the public health office.”
Horgan said Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, “has made it clear that she has plans for Family Day,” and more details will be available next week.
Masks are effective, and he doesn’t think a decision made by an elected official is a good idea. According to him, some COVID safety measures should remain post-pandemic.
“We need to be in sync with the science and not with protestors.” – Horgan
The questions come as Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said businesses, workplaces, and other public places will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test negative by Feb. 14.
Public health orders requiring the use of facemasks in indoor public spaces will remain in place until the end of February in that province.
“Proof of vaccination has been an effective policy, but its effectiveness has run its course,” Moe said Tuesday.
“The benefits no longer outweigh the costs. It’s time to heal the divisions over-vaccination in our families, in our communities, and in our province. It’s time for proof of vaccination requirements to end.”
Meanwhile, Alberta announced Tuesday afternoon it will also start phasing out COVID restrictions.
Premier Jason Kenney said vaccine passports, which allowed access to non-essential businesses, would expire at midnight Tuesday.
Masking requirements for children under 12 will cease on Monday, including in schools.
“I don’t believe that an arbitrary decision by an elected official is the best way forward in that regard,” Horgan said. “And similarly, the immunization cards supported by the vast majority of people to ensure that the sacrifices that they’ve made have provided benefits for them and their families going forward (so) we’ll just see where Dr. Henry wants to go with all of this.
“She hasn’t advised me on her plans yet.”
Horgan said he doesn’t feel any pressure to follow other provinces in decisions around mandates.
“I’ll put our record up against all of the other provinces in the country,” he said, saying B.C. fared better than before the pandemic, with better mortality rates, robust economic growth, and lower unemployment.
“I think there’s a lot of positive to say about how we’ve got here,” Horgan added.
“And it’s all as a result, not government policy specific, it’s about British Columbians recognizing and acknowledging that they have a role to play to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. And I don’t believe that’s going to change because of announcements in other provinces.”
British Columbia’s 2022 Throne speech – February 8, 2022
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