VICTORIA -- B.C. Premier John Horgan took a firm stance against racism at a live briefing in Victoria Wednesday.

With reports of racism against British Columbians of Asian descent on the rise amid the pandemic, Horgan said that it was “absolutely reprehensible for a business to be targeted just based off the ethnicity of its owners.”

“Hate has no place in British Columbia,” he added.

Meanwhile, Horgan spoke on concerns about schools reopening in June.

B.C.’s premier said the reopening of schools on a voluntary, part-time basis will assist with planning for the next school year and serves as a “dry run” for September.

“Each school will have different configurations of how they operate in June and that will inform how they run in September,” he said.

Horgan added that the safety of students and teachers was top-of-mind during the decision, and that B.C.’s provincial health officer and WorkSafe BC had both approved of the province’s reopening plans.

“I want to assure teachers and I want to assure parents that we would not have opened schools in June if we thought it was unsafe to do so.”

With the province two days into the second phase of its restart plan, Horgan said that residents and workers should not feel pressured to re-enter the workplace and community.

“We need to make sure we’re not forcing employees into situations they’re not comfortable with.”

B.C.’s premier added that he is committed to creating a paid sick leave program in the province to ensure that British Columbians can feel comfortable staying home if they are feeling unwell.

Horgan said that he continues to promote the idea on a federal level, but that B.C. is prepared to “go it alone” if need be.