BC Liberals pitch regional reopening plan

The BC Liberals are calling on the NDP government to consider a regional reopening plan, so parts of the province with lower coronavirus case counts like northern B.C. can get back to work sooner.

"It's clear, based on the evidence, that some regions and industries have been hit harder than others across the province. It seems reasonable to at least consider tailored, regional reopening plans based on the specific case counts of each region," said Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson.

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"I've sent a letter to the Premier today asking government to look at lifting more restrictions in regions with lower case counts such as Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, the Kootenays, and the North to get people back to work and bring in much-needed revenue for business sooner."

There were 64 reported cases in the Northern Health region as of June 2, and of those 63 have recovered. There have been more than 5,800 tests to date.

Wilkinson pointed to the tourism sector in particular as one that should be reopened quicker in certain parts of the province.

"Tourism, an integral part of our provincial economy which brings in about $20-billion in revenue and employs over 160,00 British Columbians, has especially struggled," he said.

"We're hopeful that government will seriously consider a regional approach that will help mitigate some of the social and economic impacts this pandemic has created."

Wilkinson noted any decisions around opening certain parts of the province before others should be made in close collaboration with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

B.C. is currently in Phase 2 of its reopening plan and has said discussions about Phase 3 are still at least a couple weeks away.

There are now 2,601 cases (207 active), and 165 deaths in B.C. There are 31 patients in hospital, eight of them in intensive care. Another 2,229 people in the province have fully recovered.

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