Public health restrictions on non-essential travel are in effect. (B.C. government)

EDITORIAL: Stop looking for loopholes in travel restrictions

The COVID-related non-essential travel restrictions were announced in full on Friday, and the questions immediately ensued.

“Where can we go?”

“Does this mean we can’t go to Victoria?”

“Can we still go to Tofino?”

The quick response to those questions is, just stay home. We must stop looking for loopholes. If it helps, imagine it’s January and we just experienced a massive snowstorm. Do what you would do then.

Technically, you can travel anywhere on the Island – if you must do so, for essential purposes.

The government has listed numerous reasonable exceptions to the ban.

They include travel for work; transport of essential goods; court appearances, and compliance of court orders; accessing child care; parental time with a minor (i.e. shared custody); health care responsibilities; and attending funerals.

(A full list is available at https://bit.ly/2QUgBJU)

A camping trip to the Sunshine Coast is not essential. A spring golf getaway to the Rocky Mountains is not essential. A weekend in Tofino is not essential.

Banning this type of travel is not an infringement on any “civil liberty.”

Following these regulations is a civic duty. We are in the midst of a pandemic, and not believing that does not make it any less real. The 3.1 million deaths worldwide make it real. The 24,000-plus deaths in Canada make it real. The 1,500-plus deaths in B.C. make it real.

The majority of us have followed the rules all along. And really, these new rules aren’t all that new. Dr. Bonnie Henry has been pleading with British Columbians to “stay safe” for a year now. She has offered guidance in that regard, and throughout the pandemic, that guidance has included a request to curb travelling.

Most of us have listened. But because some of us refuse to, sterner measures have to be imposed. “Please” was not working. Hopefully, this will.

Stay safe, friends and neighbours.

RELATED: B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

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