The British Columbia Government has declared a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth made the announcement to ensure resources are distributed across all levels of government within the province.

“Declaring a state of emergency is an important measure to support our provincial health officer and minister of health in swift and powerful response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Farnworth said.

The state of emergency is initially in effect for 14 days, once issued, and may be extended or rescinded as necessary.

“We are working with partners across government and industry to coordinate emergency response efforts, and we won’t hesitate to use the tools available to us to keep people safe.”

Declaring a state of emergency allows the Province, through the minister, to implement any provincial emergency measures required with access to land and human resource assets that may be necessary to deal with the effects of an emergency.

“These are temporary measures that will help us immensely in the long term. I encourage British Columbians to respect the situation as it stands and remember that each of us has an individual responsibility and civic duty to look out for each other by complying with all emergency orders,”said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

The B.C. Legislature will return with a limited session next Monday to pass emergency legislation.

The announcement follows the public health emergency issued by the Provincial Health Officer, Doctor Bonnie Henry on Tuesday (March 17).

The Province has created 1 888 COVID-19, available seven days a week in 110 languages,  to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about COVID-19.

This includes the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing, as well as access to support and resources from the provincial and federal governments.

The 811 number is also in place for medical-related COVID-19 questions.