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

Tribal council president named as VIU’s next chancellor

Judith Sayers accepts leadership role at Nanaimo university

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Nanaimo tourism contest assures visitors ‘we’re ready for you’

Nanaimo Hospitality Association and partners offering prizes of hotel stays and tourism experiences

Nanaimo firefighters’ burn fund video wins people’s choice award

Firefighters film gag video based on a burn camp water fight tradition

Designs come in for proposed student housing across from NDSS

City of Nanaimo reviewing development permit application for 160-unit Wakesiah complex

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read