'Great reasons for optimism,' B.C. premier says, speaking about COVID-19 restart plan
VANCOUVER -- B.C. Premier John Horgan said Thursday that he's happy with where the province is at in its COVID-19 recovery, but cautioned B.C. is still "far from out of the woods."
Horgan spoke to media Thursday morning from Victoria where he addressed a broad range of issues from the film industry to a provincial review of the police act to US-Canada relations.
"I think there's great reasons for optimism as we look at how our restart has been going across the province. We continue to see relatively low cases of COVID-19," Horgan said. "I'm pretty excited about where we are."
Horgan is confident federal stimulus spending will flow to British Columbia and said hundreds of millions was confirmed by the feds just last week, solidifying his plans to make strategic investments in infrastructure.
Along with low cases, Horgan said many sectors have started to see recovery after dramatic downturns because of the pandemic, like BC Ferries and transit.
"More and more people are coming out of their homes, participating in the economy, going to restaurants, shopping in retail outlets and participating broadly speaking in the restart of our economy," he said.
But the premier also had tough talk for the forestry industry, which as been closing down mills and struggling amid economic headwinds and various challenges.
"I wanted to make it clear to industry I value their historic contribution but they have obligation to future as well,” said Horgan, who warned logging companies that their access to lumber on public, Crown lands is contingent on their continued employment of local workers and support of B.C. communities.
When it comes to the US border, Horgan held firm on his position that now is not the time to be "inviting people from jurisdictions without the same levels of success for a visit.”
On the positive side, 24 TV and movie productions have resumed in the province, Horgan said.
Even so, B.C. reissued its record-breaking state of emergency for a ninth time.
States of emergency can only be issued or extended for two weeks at a time, so the latest will only remain in effect through July 21 at the latest.
The province's solicitor general explained that even though COVID-19 restrictions have been slowly lifted in B.C., some measures must still remain in place.
Watch the full news conference and an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.