'This isn't easy': B.C.'s premier shares Christmas message during COVID-19 pandemic
Premier John Horgan answers questions from the media during a press conference following the speech from the throne in the legislative assembly in Victoria on February 12, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
VANCOUVER -- With COVID-19 cases still accumulating and the province under strict social restrictions over the holidays, there's no question this Christmas is a unique one.
On Christmas Eve, B.C.'s premier shared a holiday message, highlighting how challenging celebrations might be for most this year.
"Normally, Christmas is a time when people gather with friends and family, share food, exchange gifts and take part in the many traditions of the season," Premier John Horgan's message says.
"This year will look very different as we battle the second wave of COVID-19."
On Dec. 7, Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, extended B.C.'s far-reaching social restrictions that limit gatherings among people who don't live in the same household until at least Jan. 8. Few exceptions are in place for people who live alone.
"This isn’t easy," Horgan said. "Like you, I will miss spending time with my loved ones this holiday season. But for now, I am limiting my contacts and spending this time at home. The most important thing right now is to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19."
In his message, however, Horgan pointed to the hope of vaccines being distributed in the province. As of Thursday, 8,178 people had received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine so far in B.C. Health-care workers were first to receive a dose and immunization of long-term care residents is also underway.
"This is not forever. With vaccines available, there is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel," Horgan said.
"There will be a time when we can all come together again, like we did before. Until then, let us remember the values of the Christmas season – charity, generosity and kindness – and do our level best to keep ourselves and others healthy and safe."