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State of emergency over COVID-19 reinstated for 8th time in B.C.
VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s record-breaking state of emergency has been renewed once again.
States of emergency are only in place for two-week periods so they need to be reinstated consistently by the solicitor general.
The state of emergency has been in place since March 18 and has been renewed every two weeks since. The state of emergency will now be in place until at least July 7.
Premier John Horgan announced the extension Wednesday at the same time he announced B.C. is transitioning into Phase 3 of its restart plan.
"As we enter Phase 3 we need to do so cautiously," Horgan said. "The state of emergency allows us to continue providing supports for people and businesses."
When Horgan last renewed the order on June 10, he said he was "confident" the need for a state of emergency due to the pandemic would eventually lessen.
"But we are coming out of the flood season and looking squarely in the face of fire season, so we'll see how that unfolds," Horgan said two weeks ago.
Legislation for ending emergency
On Monday, the province announced the COVID-19 Related Measures Act, which would help the province unwind emergency orders more gradually once a state of emergency ends.
"This legislation will support the delicate work of formalizing and unwinding emergency measures relied on by British Columbians during the pandemic in a way that recognizes that the impacts of COVID-19 may still be felt for an extended period after the state of emergency is over," said Attorney General David Eby in a news release.
Typically, orders made by the solicitor general during a state of emergency end as soon as that state of emergency is lifted. But, under the proposed legislation, some of the orders will be extended beyond the state of emergency by 45 or 90 days.
And, in the case of second wave of COVID-19, those orders could be extended for up to a year if needed.
"British Columbians can be confident that these emergency orders will not end abruptly the moment the declaration of a state of emergency ends," Eby said. "They will have adequate notice to prepare."
Horgan said Wednesday the proposed legislation is being debated this week.
Watch an American Sign Language translation of the news conference on the provincial government's YouTube page.