[Editor’s Note: Premier John Horgan said that managing the international border is a federal issue. However, he was willing to talk to Ottawa about it.]
AFTER numerous reports of people gathering at Peace Arch Park and disregarding COVID-19 health guidelines, Surrey BC Liberal MLAs Trevor Halford and Stephanie Cadieux asked Premier John Horgan on Wednesday to call on Washington State Governor Jay Inslee to close public access to the park on the U.S. side until it is deemed safe for non-essential cross border travel.
“At a time when COVID-19 variants could spread quickly, it’s more critical than ever to take action to protect our communities,” said Halford, MLA for Surrey-White Rock. “Countless constituents have been reaching out to us, concerned for their safety, as Canadians and Americans continue to take advantage of an unwritten loophole that allows for face-to-face contact at Peace Arch Park, only to return home without being subject to Canadian quarantine laws and Provincial Health Orders. While John Horgan asks British Columbians to ‘do more’ to help stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s also time for him to do more and help close this loophole.”
This past weekend, local residents reported seeing busy streets and more than 75 tents pitched with people gathering from either side of the border, many without masks. So far, Washington state officials have not shown any willingness to close the American side of the park to help limit the number of people who gather.
“Residents shouldn’t feel afraid to walk out their front door because others are exploiting a loophole,” said Cadieux, MLA for Surrey South. “It’s time for John Horgan to call on his friend, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee, to close public access to Peace Arch Park to the U.S. side while non-essential cross border travel is being discouraged.”