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BC state of emergency extended another two weeks

Horgan announces opening of new urgent care centre in Surrey, extends state of emergency
Premier John Horgan said he will not bend the rules on pandemic restrictions for professional hockey

B.C. Premier John Horgan today announced another two-week extension of a provincial state of emergency, with “no likely end in sight.”

Horgan said the current state of emergency, put in place 10 weeks ago to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, is now the longest one that has ever been in place in B.C.

Horgan also announced the opening of a new urgent care centre in Surrey, and plans to recall MLAs for a regular sitting of the BC Legislative Assembly on June 22. While some MLAs will physically return to the Legislature, some may participate by video conferencing.

The new Surrey-Newton Urgent and Primary Care Centre at 6830 King George Boulevard will be open for 44 hours a week, and by the end of July it will be open seven days a week, 12 hours a day, which will take pressure off of the Surrey Memorial Hospital's emergency room, Horgan said.

Horgan said there are 90,000 people in Surrey that do not have family doctors. It is the second urgent care clinic now open in Surrey.

At his press conference today, Horgan fielded questions from reporters on concerns that professional hockey is being chased out of B.C. by regulations on this side of the border that requires anyone crossing a border to isolate for 14 days, as well as the restrictions on large gatherings and sporting events.

The Vancouver Canucks are said to be considering having their training camps in the U.S. due to restrictions on cross border travel.

"Minister Lisa Beare (Tourism, Arts and Culture) has been working with the Canucks, focusing on how we can get hockey back into the arena and downtown Vancouver and get hockey on the television screens," Horgan said. "But we will not waive the rules of Canada, which is you require a 14-day isolation period when you're coming into the country.

"Although, as I understand it, the NHL is looking at resuming play in the middle of July, in COVID years, that's a thousand years from now.

"The rules are in place -- they're national rules that we fought hard to have put in place. I'm not going to ask for those to be bent today on the prospect of games potentially being played eight weeks from now.

"Two weeks from now, four weeks from now, could be a completely different situation provided we continue to see the progress we've seen here in British Columbia."

There are also questions about whether the BC Lions will be able to play games in B.C., should the Canadian Football League be able to have a limited season starting in the fall.

"I'd love to see the Lions have a season this year," Horgan said, but said it's still not clear whether large gatherings like football games will be able to be held safely by fall.

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