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

Surrey Council Chambers. (File photo)
Surrey city councillors complain not enough public input in committees

City has gone ‘exactly the opposite direction,’ Councillor Brenda Locke charges

Pindie Dhaliwal, one of the organizers for the Surrey Challo protest for Indian farmers. She says organizers were told by Surrey RCMP that the event was not allowed due to COVID-19. Organizers ended up moving the protest to Strawberry Hill at the last minute. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Indian farmers rally moves as organizers say Surrey RCMP told them they couldn’t gather

Protest originally planned in Cloverdale, moved to Strawberry Hill

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at a Surrey high-intensity rehabilitation unit, Laurel Place. On Dec. 22, 2020, Fraser Health said four patients and two staff members have tested positive for the virus. (Image: Google Street View)
Fraser Health says COVID-19 outbreak over at Laurel Place in Surrey

Health authority declared outbreak over Jan. 16

Tsawwassen resident Angeline Splockton won $100,000 from a Luxury Crossword Scratch & Win ticket. (BCLC photo)
Nightly ritual turns into $100K win for Tsawwassen woman

Angeline Splockton uncovered 11 words on her Luxury Crossword Scratch & Win ticket

A Transit Police officer and another driver were injured on Nov. 4 in a traffic crash while the officer was responding to another officers call for help catching a man who escaped custody. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Police watchdog investigating Surrey crash that injured transit cop, another driver

Crash happened 11 p.m. Nov. 4, at 128th Street and 93rd Avenue in Cedar Hills

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read