Premier John Horgan (The Canadian Press)

Premier John Horgan (The Canadian Press)

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

British Columbia’s gradual restart is gaining ground as some industries resume operations and more people leave their homes to participate in the economy, Premier John Horgan said Thursday.

He said B.C.’s successful efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the willingness of people to spend more time out in public leave him optimistic.

Horgan made the comments ahead of new job numbers due Friday and before next week’s provincial fiscal update.

The federal government’s fiscal update Wednesday forecast a deficit of more than $343 billion and up to two million people unemployed.

Horgan said Ottawa’s deficit figure is “staggering.”

“It’s incomprehensible for regular people. But that is July and we have many, many months ahead of us in the fiscal year, as well as many months ahead of us dealing with COVID-19.”

Despite the size of the federal deficit, Horgan said he will work to keep financial hurdles from standing in the way of B.C.’s recovery plans.

He said the number of passengers on transit and ferries is growing, and television and movie productions have restarted, as well as restaurants serving more customers.

“We’ve seen successes, more and more people are coming out of their homes participating in the economy, going to restaurants, shopping in retail outlets and participating, broadly speaking, in the restart of our economy,” Horgan said.

Last month, B.C.’s jobless rate was 13.4 per cent, with more than 350,000 jobs lost since the start of the pandemic.

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month in a gradual move to a third phase of its recovery plan.

The move permitted hotels, motels, spas, resorts, hostels, RV parks, provincial campgrounds and the film industry to resume operations after being shut down or restricted since March.

“People are adapting,” Horgan said. “People are finding ways to make do in this extraordinary time.”

The province announced 20 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and no new deaths, bringing the total number of cases to 3,028.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the government is preparing a couple of contingency scenarios for a possible second wave of COVID-19 with data collected in British Columbia.

“The whole plan … is making sure that we don’t ever have to go back to shutting everything down like we did in March,” she told a news conference.

Health officials know more about the virus now, so they can adapt the way the health-care system reacts, Henry said.

“We know so much now about being able to control these outbreaks and control the spread in the community that we won’t need to shut down all hospitals and that we won’t need to stop things like surgeries the way that we did in March.”

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fletcher Quince
Rossland byelection quickly approaching on Nov. 28

Fletcher Quince and Terry Miller are vying to become the next city councillor

With new Provincial Health Orders, area sports teams will suspend all travel including the Trail Smoke Eaters and Trail minor hockey rep teams and some house teams. Photo: Jim Bailey.
New COVID regs suspend junior and minor hockey rep play

All West Kootenay travelling hockey teams have been grounded until Dec. 7

(Black Press file)
Interior Health reports 31 new COVID-19 cases

In the region, health authority reports 235 total active cases

Fire crews responded to the fire at approximately at approximately 11 a.m. on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Connor Trembley photo)
Man, 26, accused of arson in summer fire that destroyed two Castlegar homes

Jonathan Mcallister is charged with two counts of arson

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Pictured is the Cranbrook gravel pit, located between two graveyards near the public works yard. This is where two lost kids were located by a Salvador Ready Mix driver on Thursday, November 19, 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Two lost Cranbrook kids find their way home thanks to Salvador Ready Mix driver

The driver found the children wandering near the gravel pits in Cranbrook

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Most Read