B.C. steps up emergency response to COVID-19

B.C.'s Public Safety and Solicitor General has issued a series of ministerial orders in response to the ongoing response to novel coronavirus pandemic.

The orders include:

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- establishing a new supply chain coordination unit to co-ordinate goods and services distribution; taking a more active role in co-ordinating essential goods and services movement by land, air, marine and rail; and suspending any bylaws that restrict goods delivery at any time of day.

- banning the secondary resale of food, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, cleaning and other essential supplies; and restricting quantities of items purchased at point of sale.

- enabling municipal bylaw officers to support enforcement of the provincial health officer's orders for business closures and gatherings, in line with offences under the Public Health Act.

- ensuring all passenger and car-ferry services provide minimum service levels and priority access for residents, and essential goods and workers.

- making it easier to support critical services for vulnerable people, like food banks and shelters.

- suspending local states of emergency specific to the COVID-19 pandemic, except for the City of Vancouver; giving municipal councils the ability to hold more flexible meetings to expedite decisions; and co-ordinating potential use of local publicly owned facilities, like community centres, for self-isolation, testing, medical care, warehousing and distribution.

"B.C. is in a strong position to effectively respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mike Farnworth. "Informed by the direction of the provincial health officer, we're taking these critical steps to keep our communities safe, goods moving and essential service workers supported."

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