B.C. supports federal government's new restrictions discouraging international travel, premier says

·2 min read

British Columbia's premier says the province supports the federal government's move to impose new travel restrictions due to COVID-19.

John Horgan says in a statement the decision to limit international travel will help keep British Columbians safe.

On Wednesday, Horgan said the province had no immediate plans to impose travel restrictions requiring anyone entering the province to self-isolate for 14 days.

Health Minister Adrian Dix told a news conference Friday that B.C. has been concerned about the follow-up on quarantine protocols across the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new travel restrictions aimed at discouraging travel and reducing the spread of more infectious variants.

Trudeau said all returning Canadians will quarantine in an approved hotel for three days at their own expense while they await results of a COVID-19 test taken at the airport.

The Vancouver Airport Authority said YVR is committed to doing its part to limit the spread of COVID-19.

"YVR provides an essential service to the community and our focus through the pandemic has been to provide a safe and healthy airport for those who need to travel and to facilitate the movement of essential goods and cargo," the authority said in an email.

"We are working closely with our government partners to plan and implement these changes."

Travel agents speak out

The new restrictions are a body blow to the already reeling travel industry, said Dean Malik, a Marlin Travel franchisee.

"That's pretty much like putting the nail in the coffin," Malkin said.

"We have no business at all. Any hope of us keeping the business going just now, it looks really impossible."

Malik said he has many clients willing to "take a chance" in places like Cuba or the Dominican Republic, but believes the federal restrictions, testing and quarantining requirements are too onerous.

"It's just pretty much shut down our chances or even hope ... of making sure that our industry can survive."

Thomas Pamos, co-owner of Omega Travel Service, however, said he was relieved to see new restrictions.

"I wish they had been put in place months ago," Pamos said, adding he believes a complete shutdown of holiday air travel will lead to government support for the industry.

Pamos said it's about time the government realized that to get people to stop non-essential travel, it needs to be too expensive or too inconvenient to do so.

Health and safety, he added, needs to be top priority right now.

"Which means don't travel. That's the end of it," He said. "The quicker we get through this together, the easier it's going to be for us to start travelling again."