Premier John Horgan sought legal advice and found they can’t ban interprovincial travel, although they can impose restrictions on non-essential travellers.

Releasing a statement on the matter, Horgan said they can’t outright ban travel between provinces and territories.

“We’ve heard from many people who are worried travel from outside B.C. has contributed to the spread of COVID-19. In response to those concerns, we asked for legal options on restricting interprovincial travel and a better understanding of the impact of travel on transmission,” said Horgan.

The Premier said while they can’t prevent people from travelling to and from British Columbia, they can impose restrictions on people travelling for non-essential purposes if they are harming the health and safety of local residents.

“Much of current interprovincial travel is work-related and therefore cannot be restricted,” said Horgan in his statement. “Public health officials tell us what is most important is for everyone to obey health orders, wherever they are, rather than imposing mobility rules. Therefore, we will not be imposing travel restrictions at this time.”

While no decision has been made as to increased restrictions on non-essential travellers, Horgan said it’s an issue where they’re keeping a close eye.

“If we see transmission increase due to interprovincial travel, we will impose stronger restrictions on non-essential travellers. We will continue to work with the tourism and hospitality sectors to make sure all possible safety precautions are in place.”

Horgan explained that he has spoken to colleagues across Canada at the Council of the Federation and First Ministers’ meetings. The Premier said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is exploring further travel restrictions internationally, and that B.C. “stands ready” to assist.

“I asked my colleagues to carry a message back to their citizens: now is not the time for non-essential travel. We ask all British Columbians to stay close to home while vaccines become available. And to all Canadians outside of B.C., we look forward to your visit to our beautiful province when we can welcome you safely.”