British Columbia has declared a state of emergency, coordinating resources across all levels of government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mike Farnworth, B.C. Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety made the announcement on Wednesday, one day after the COVID-19 outbreak was deemed a public health emergency by the provincial health officer.

“We need to ensure that we will continue to have the means to coordinate our response across government, across industry and that we have the tools available to protect the most vulnerable,” said Farnworth. “This declaration will make sure federal, provincial, and local resources are delivered in a joint coordinated way to protect the people of our province.”

Farnworth said that by declaring a state of emergency in British Columbia, they are taking an “all-hands-on-deck approach” to their response.

“The declaration also includes the means to secure critical supply chains to ensure people have access to essential goods and services and that any infrastructure necessary to support the response to COVID-19 is readily available,” added Farnworth.

B.C. Legislature will return with a limited session on Monday, March 23rd to pass emergency legislation and ensure the provincial government remains operational.

Farnworth encouraged everyone to remain safe, remain healthy, and take responsibility for stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Follow the advice of the public health officer, be vigilant about your hand hygiene, maintain social or physical distancing and stay home if you’re sick. We are going to get through this together, all of us.”