B.C. health minister to U.S. visitors: 'Don't come'
Adrian Dix says B.C. concerned with Trudeau decision to allow Americans into Canada during pandemic
B.C.'s health minister issued a stark warning Monday to would-be visitors thinking of travelling north from the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic: "Don't come."
Adrian Dix pleaded with Americans to stay away from British Columbia minutes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada would be closing its borders to all foreign citizens except those from the United States.
Dix noted that B.C. borders Washington, one of the states hardest hit by COVID-19. As of Monday, the state had seen 42 deaths and nearly 800 cases in regions only a few hours away from the northern border.
"We remain concerned that access to visitors from the United States continues to be allowed," Dix said.
"It's our strong view and it's our strong message that visitors from the United States not come to British Columbia. Don't come, because at this moment that is the wrong thing to do."
Decision taken to maintain supply lines
There are 13 land border crossings between Washington state and British Columbia. The crossings closest to Vancouver are among the busiest in the country. Millions of people cross back and forth between the U.S. and B.C. each year along with billions of dollars worth of goods.
The United States is B.C.'s top trading partner and according to figures provided by the provincial government, the country accounted for 50.9 per cent of B.C.'s commodity exports in 2019.
Watch: B.C.'s Health Minister Adrian Dix tells Americans to stay away
Trudeau said Americans would be allowed in "at this time" but that the situation is "evolving."
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the decision to keep the border open to Americans was made to reflect the integration of the two economies and populations and to maintain essential supply lines for things like food.
But Dix said that while his government supports Trudeau's actions, the threat of Americans bringing the virus into Canada was crucial to British Columbians.
"We understand that people are being asked to self isolate," he said.
"But better than self-isolate for visitors is not to come."
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