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B.C. bans resale of food, essential goods amid COVID-19 pandemic
VICTORIA -- The B.C. government announced sweeping new measures to ban the resale of food, medical supplies and protective equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday.
Premier John Horgan and Minister of Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth also announced measures to ensure that provincial supply chains for essential goods and services remain intact, whether the products come by land, air or water.
"These are uncharted territories for all of us but together we will get through this," said Horgan. "This is not a drill, it is a pandemic."
To protect supply chains, the province is coordinating with retailers and suspending any bylaws that restrict the delivery of goods at any time.
Retailers and suppliers are also required to provide inventory updates to the province to ensure that medical equipment, like masks and gowns, are available to health-care workers.
Meanwhile, the province is placing a ban on the resale of any food, medical supplies, cleaning products and other essential supplies.
Farnworth said that municipal bylaw officers will be able to enforce the provincial health’s officer’s orders, including the closure of businesses and bans on gatherings of 50 people or more.
Additionally, Farnworth said all ferry services are being scaled down to minimum service levels and will be used only for the transportation of essential goods, workers and residents who require essential travel.
As of Thursday, the provincial government is suspending all local states of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic for all B.C. municipalities except for the City of Vancouver.
The province says the suspension will help the provincial government coordinate with municipalities to enact a “unified” cross-government response to the novel coronavirus, rather than a “patchwork” approach from each municipality.
The province says it is gathering lists of local publicly owned facilities, like recreation centres, in case the properties need to be converted into centres for testing, medical care, self-isolation or warehousing and distribution.
"Many local governments, First Nations and partners have stepped up to make sure they have prepared to protect their communities from the impacts of COVID-19,” said Farnworth.
“Today's measures will make sure communities are taking necessary steps, in co-ordination with the province, to get ready should more action be required to combat COVID-19."