B.C. Premier John Horgan has promised those ignoring public health orders about COVID-19 that officials will “come down on you like a ton of bricks,” but no new penalties or enforcement measures have been announced.
During his weekly briefing on the pandemic Wednesday, the premier spoke about his disappointment with people who refuse to wear masks in indoor public spaces or hold parties in their penthouse apartments.
“You better behave appropriately … or we’ll come down on you like a ton of bricks,” Horgan said.
He specifically addressed the accusations against former Great Canadian Gaming Corporation CEO Rod Baker and his wife, actress Ekaterina Baker, who allegedly chartered a plane to the remote Yukon community of Beaver Creek and posed as motel employees to get vaccine doses.
“I believe there is nothing more un-Canadian than travelling to another jurisdiction to jump the line for vaccinations,” Horgan said.
The allegations against the Bakers came up repeatedly during the press conference, and the premier described their alleged actions as the last thing he expected as a leader.
“You can’t measure the contempt that British Columbians have for that individual,” Horgan said.
Wednesday’s briefing did not include any new enforcement measures for the public health orders that are currently in place, though Horgan said that in a cabinet meeting earlier in the day, he spoke with Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth about the issue.
But Horgan said B.C. is not considering following Manitoba’s lead in implementing a mandatory 14-day quarantine order for people travelling here from other provinces, saying it’s not recommended by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and would be difficult to enforce.
“The public health evidence is not there at this time,” he said.
‘Dig down a little bit deeper’
Nearly a year after the first case was detected in B.C., the premier acknowledged that many in British Columbia are currently experiencing “COVID exhaustion” from the restrictions on daily life.
He said he understands those who have been following public health advice since the beginning are feeling worn out and frustrated with people who flout the rules.
Nonetheless, Horgan echoed Henry’s message that everyone needs to try even harder to prevent transmission of the novel coronavirus.
“Dig down a little bit deeper. Find that extra gear to get through the next number of weeks and months as we get our vaccine program up and running,” the premier said.
He said Henry will be revisiting the current public health orders on Feb. 2. The current orders, which prohibit all social gatherings and events with anyone outside your immediate household, are set to expire on Feb. 5.