Roadside travel checks to start on Thursday in B.C.

VANCOUVER — The B.C. RCMP will set up COVID-19 travel checkpoints on four highways, starting Thursday.

B.C. RCMP spokeswoman Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said the checkpoints would be on Highway 1, near Boston Bar, Highway 3 in the Manning Park area, Highway 5 north of the Great Bear Snow Shed, and Highway 99 in the Lillooet area.

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Shoihet said there would be notification signage before each road check, with u-turn routes.

“People travelling for essential reasons through those areas can expect traffic delays,” she said. Commercial vehicles will not be subject to road checks.

Shoihet said the RCMP was acting under the Emergency Program Act in banning non-essential travel between the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and North/Interior due to COVID-19. No road checks are planned for the Island, but B.C. Ferries passengers are being asked whether their travel is essential.

This travel ban was announced by Premier John Horgan two weeks ago, as the province’s third wave of COVID-19 was peaking. It outlaws non-essential travel between health regions and comes with a $575 fine. It will be in place until at least May 25.

At the road check, police officers will ask for identification from drivers, documentation regarding their name and address, and the reason for travelling.

If an officer determines that a person is travelling for non-essential reasons, they will be directed to leave the region.

On Wednesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie reported 572 new cases of COVID-19 and no deaths. She said there were 6,877 active cases in B.C., of which 481 were in hospital, including 161 people in intensive care. Most of the new cases were in Fraser Health, with 362, followed by Vancouver Coastal Health with 118 cases. Twenty-two of the new cases were in the Island Health region.

Henry said B.C.’s COVID-19 death toll was actually three fewer than the 1,597 reported on Tuesday due to a data correction.

B.C. is expected to hit the two million vaccination point over the next two days. So far, 1,943,230 doses have been administered, at a current rate of 30,000 to 40,000 a day.

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