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'This is completely dumb': Metro Vancouverites react to new order restricting travel in B.C.

"People living in Metro Van can still go up to Squamish and Whistler?"
Metro Vancouverites are expressing confusion over the order restricting non-essential travel across B.C.  Some it won't reduce travel to COVID-19 hotspots.

Metro Vancouverites are expressing confusion regarding a new order that restricts non-essential travel across B.C. 

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth told reporters in a press briefing Friday (April 23) that a $575 fine will be issued to people who contravene the new order restricting non-essential travel in the province.

The new order prohibits non-essential travel between three regional zones in the province, using health authority boundaries. The new zones include the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Health and Coastal Health regions); Vancouver Island (Island Health region); and the Northern/Interior (Interior Health and Northern Health regions).

That said, not everyone agrees that the aforementioned regional zones will reduce transmission in key COVID-19 "hotspots" across the province. For example, several locals have commented on social media that the new order will not prohibit people from Vancouver from going to Whistler for vacations. Similarly, people who live in Surrey may still travel to Downtown Vancouver, while Vancouverites may still camp in the Fraser Valley.  

Of course, Farnworth stated that the PHO’s guidance remains unchanged throughout B.C.: everyone should continue to stay within their local community – essential travel only. 

What does that mean?

Earlier this month, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said people should not travel outside of their immediate neighbourhoods, except for essential purposes. 

"So if you live in North [Vancouver], you should not be travelling to Langley, or to Richmond. If you live in the Lower Mainland, you should not be travelling to the island," said Henry.

While travel should be avoided outside of your immediate neighbourhood, Henry emphasized the importance of spending time outdoors.  However, this should be done safely and with people in your immediate household. 

Still, multiple people have added that the lack of enforcement for local travel will not dissuade rule-breakers from travelling to other communities in the Lower Mainland. Several of them remark that the word "should" leaves too much room for interpretation. 

A couple of people also mentioned that the fine isn't steep enough to prevent people from going on trips, either. 

Have a look at what some locals had to say about the new provincewide travel order.