VANCOUVER -- A retail group says criticism by British Columbia's premier of young people could be replaced by better education about the risks of COVID-19.

Greg Wilson, a director for the B.C. division of the Retail Council of Canada, says he understands Premier John Horgan's frustration as cases rise, but social media or other channels may be a way of reaching youth rather than hour-long briefings.

Horgan asked those in the 20-to-39-year-old age group not to “blow this for the rest of us” as the province introduced new pandemic measures yesterday, saying the higher infection rates are putting everyone in a challenging situation.

Wilson says young workers in the retail sector have generally been pleased with the COVID-19 response in B.C., where stores have remained open while some other provinces have imposed restrictions.

Horgan wasn't immediately available to comment on the suggestions.

Wilson says he would have found Horgan's comment insulting if he were in the age group. Instead, he's focusing on the fact that B.C. has protected as many businesses as possible.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said COVID-19 infections among young people are increasing just as the older population is getting vaccinated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2021.