Earlier this month the BC Provincial Government announced a ban on non-essential travel between three regional zones in British Columbia. This morning they expanded on this announcement by authorizing police to conduct road checks on travel corridors between the regions.
The checks, as outlined in the provincial government announcement, are specifically intended to help limit non-essential travel in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. The emphasis will be on informing travellers of the order, identifying whether or not the purpose for travel is essential as listed in the order, and providing every opportunity for travellers to turn around voluntarily. It is anticipated that the vast majority of travellers will voluntarily comply, minimising the need for enforcement
The BC RCMP is currently in the process of determining where checks will be conducted to ensure public and officer safety.
These checks will be conducted by a dedicated team and will not reduce police service in the communities which we serve. All police personnel and partner agencies taking part in the checks will be following COVID-19 protocols to ensure the safety of everyone.
Signs placed well ahead of the road checks will warn travellers and provide them the opportunity to safely turn around if the purpose of their travel in not essential.
As outlined in the provincial announcement, the BC RCMP will not be conducting random checks of vehicles or persons. Enforcement will only occur at the designated road check locations on Highways #1, #3, #5, and #99 near to the boundaries between the combined Coastal and Fraser Health Regions and the combined Northern and Interior Health Regions. When a road check is active, a notification will also been made on the BC RCMP website and social media channels.
In preparation for the upcoming checks we would ask the public review the restrictions and provisions that the provincial government has issued, and to avoid non-essential travel between the Lower Mainland/Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and Northern/Interior regions.
We recognize that these checks will impact traffic flow and could potentially lead to delays. Leading up to the May long weekend we encourage everyone to revisit their plans and limit travel outside of their community. By working together, we will help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and return to normal seasonal travel more quickly.
Chief Superintendent Dave Attfield
Deputy Criminal Operations Officer, Core Policing