Prime Minister John Horgan said the new legal requirement takes effect immediately at land borders, as well as at Vancouver International Airport.
“This is not a suggestion – we are waiting for those who have left,” Horgan said on Wednesday.
Although the requirement is effective immediately, the province said in a statement on Wednesday that officials will not be on hand to assess the plans and help people carry them out before Friday, April 10.
The province said travelers’ plans must show, in detail, that they have supports in place to safely self-isolate for 14 days. The plans will need to be approved by the authorities before passengers can proceed.
Horgan said people who don’t have a plan will be sent to a “quarantine site” until they make one.
“If you don’t understand it, you will stay there for 14 days,” Horgan said on Wednesday.
British Columbia officials feared that incoming stray passengers would undermine weeks of physical exertion at home by disobeying the rules of self-isolation.
The Snowbirds and thousands of Canadians are expected to arrive home on repatriation flights in the coming days. There is a strict and mandatory segregation order under the Quarantine Act for travelers returning to Canada: they must return directly to their home and stay there for 14 days. No grocery, no family visits, no quick local trips.
Ignoring the order could result in fines of up to $ 1 million or three years in prison.
“I wish we did it a week ago”
The Canada Border Services Agency was one of the first lines of defense to educate travelers, checking for symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival and instructing them based on their condition.
In order to pass customs, passengers were also required to recognize the need to isolate themselves. Horgan said it would continue and that people with symptoms of COVID-19 would not be allowed to leave.
Dozens of Canadians have already returned from abroad. Earlier Wednesday, Horgan said he wished British Columbia. had implemented the plan earlier.
“I wish we did it a week ago, but we can always say with hindsight that we could have done better. And, as I said, we write this down as we go. “
Self-isolation plan forms can be submitted online or completed in person upon arrival.
Vancouver Airport is one of four Canadian airports designated to accept international flights during the pandemic. The Canada-US border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 21.
100% compliance with the always critical distance
So far, physical distance appears to have helped reduce British Columbia’s infection curve. Health officials and Horgan agree that swift action, widespread compliance and a bit of luck have helped the province where other jurisdictions like Ontario and Quebec have struggled.
Yet officials at all levels have said that British Columbia is far from out of the woods, and “100%” compliance is still essential. They urged the public to persevere, especially before the long weekend ahead with hot, dry weather forecast.
“We are concerned that British Columbians will take the positive indications we have seen too much to heart and that they will reduce their isolation activities. We need to focus on that, “said the Prime Minister.
Horgan said enforcing the rules for incoming international travelers is “work in progress”, but said citizens who see neighbors do badly after being abroad should encourage them to return inside a safe distance. If the situation persists, the Prime Minister said witnesses could phone public health or local law enforcement.
“We are going to make bigger announcements in the next few days to encourage people to stay at home, to encourage people to stay the course,” he said.
“The only way to regain a sense of normalcy is to continue to follow the guidelines put in place by [provincial health officer] Dr. Bonnie Henry, even in the heyday of British Columbia. ”
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