Province announces 40 new COVID-19 cases

GRAPHY- B.C. mandated that all restaurants in the province move to takeout or delivery only on Friday March 20

BC announces 45 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 231

Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix provide an update on COVID-19 to the media.

"This preparedness is not what's happened in other jurisdictions". We have seen that it is effective in other countries if we all do our part. Restaurants not in compliance will be first served with a notice and then enforcement action if they continue to not comply.

"This is really for all of us, as individuals and as a society, the greatest fight of our time", he said.

"But our healthcare system doesn't operate in a vacuum".

"Frontline staff are critical in beating this virus", he noted, adding he is enormously grateful for all of their efforts.

No one under the age of 10 has tested positive in B.C.

A ban on all gatherings of more than 50 people remains in effect, and anyone returning to Canada from worldwide travel has been ordered to self-isolate for 14 days.

On Friday, Henry issued a new order for restaurants. "It is becoming obvious as it has to numerous municipalities around here that this is a very challenging thing to do (in restaurants)".

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"They're getting infected in the community, and then bringing it into work and in some cases are transmitting it between each other and between their families", said Henry, again stressing why social distancing is so important.

"While there is no immediate threat to the community I believe Dr. Henry and her team are doing Northern Health a disservice by not providing more precise locations to the people who are testing positive", he said in an email to the Citizen.

"The reasons that we're doing this are so that we can build a firewall".

"It's a challenging time around the anxiety that's created by this virus, and the anxiousness, and that is even more challenging for people who are living vulnerable".

"We [previously] put in some guidance around being able to maintain a distance within the restaurant and it's becoming obvious to me, as it has to numerous municipalities around here, that this is a very challenging thing to do", Henry said.

Many of these services have already shut down voluntarily, but Henry said the government had been notified about some businesses that were carrying on as usual.

"Right now, we need to be in small groups, we need to be with our family, we need to be with our close friends - one or two of us".

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