‘You’re better than that,’ B.C. premier tells young people gathering amid COVID-19

‘You’re better than that,’ B.C. premier tells young people gathering amid COVID-19

VICTORIA — Premier John Horgan says young people are not immune to COVID-19 and he’s appealing to their better judgment to help stop the rise in cases in the province.

Horgan said Thursday that despite an uptick in cases among young people, the province does not plan to pursue punitive measures against crowds who gathered for a drum circle on a Vancouver beach or others who break public health protocols.

Instead, the government plans to continue its strategy of asking British Columbians to act responsibly after a recent surge in cases.

“If you’re going to have a party, if you’re going to have some fun, keep it to the people you know,” Horgan said.

If someone from outside your circle is participating, keep your distance because you don’t know how many people that person has been in contact with.

“Young people are not immune, young people are not invincible. All of us are in this together.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has called a recent hike in cases a wake-up call to remain vigilant against the virus.

She announced on Thursday 30 more cases and one death in a long-term care facility for a total of 190 fatalities around the province.

Around 1,000 people across B.C. are self-isolating because of an outbreak in Kelowna that health officials believe began with private parties at hotels around Canada Day.

Horgan said he was disappointed to view footage of gatherings in Kelowna and Vancouver.

“Come on, you’re better than that,” he said.

He said he expects young people will share their stories of infection on social media and he encouraged anyone who sees their peers acting outside of the guidelines to speak up.

Despite the jump in infections, Horgan said he does not believe the province began reopening too quickly. British Columbia’s numbers remain low relative to neighbouring Washington state, which is recording more than 800 new cases daily and Alberta, which is averaging more than 100, he said.

The premier said he is encouraged that federal authorities are imposing “hefty fines” on American boaters found docking in British Columbia.

Horgan said British Columbians should be prepared for further restrictions in the fall, as the weather turns, and people spend more time indoors.

“Absolutely, people should be thinking about what the future holds for them as individuals and as communities. Our plan is to continue to monitor and ask people to behave appropriately, keep in small groups wherever possible.”

Henry said the province will issue an order in the coming days to limit the number of people and guests in rental properties and on houseboats across B.C.

“The onus falls on the owner-operators to ensure the restrictions are followed and we can ensure that with local bylaws and public-health enforcement as well,” she said, adding restrictions will be based on the size of a space.

Henry said part of the rationale is to prevent spread from parties, as has been the case recently in Kelowna.

Making masks mandatory in indoor spaces would only be warranted if there is a sufficient spread of the virus in the community, she said, calling that a “heavy-handed approach.”

“It is the least effective of the many layers we have,” she said of measures such as handwashing and physical distancing, adding many people are choosing to wear masks in stores and on transit.

Also on Thursday, Federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced further details of $2.2 billion earmarked for British Columbia as part of the Safe Restart Agreement.

Under the plan, Ottawa will contribute $540 million in transit funding for British Columbia, which Horgan said the province will match.

“We’re going to match that dollar for dollar to make sure that we can keep the system going without putting more burden on local users or local governments,” Horgan said.

— By Amy Smart and Camille Bains in Vancouver.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read