The B.C. government has declared a provincial state of emergency.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the step on Wednesday as part of the province’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I want to ensure our government is doing everything possible to address this crisis,” Farnworth said.
“These are extraordinary powers that have been brought to bare in extraordinary times.”
The declaration of a provincial state of emergency gives the government sweeping powers, such as acquiring or using any land or property considered necessary to address the pandemic.
The province also now has the power to control or prohibit travel to or from any area of British Columbia.
That capacity was used during the wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018 to ensure British Columbians did not return to areas under mandatory evacuation order.
The state of emergency also allows the province to procure, fix prices for or ration food, clothing, fuel, equipment, medical supplies or other essential supplies and the use of any property, services, resources or equipment.
It also authorizes local authorities to implement a local emergency plan.
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