The BC government is initiating a province-wide response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says on the recommendation of the Provincial Health Officer, he will use the Emergency Program Act to ensure a co-ordinated coronavirus response at all levels of government.

A new Provincial Supply Chain Coordination Unit will be established for goods and services distribution.

There will be a ban on the resale of food, medical supplies. personal protective equipment and limits on how much people can purchase at retail outlets.

Local by-law officers will be enabled to enforce the Provincial Health Officer’s orders on closures and crowd size restrictions.

The government will require ferry services to offer minimum service levels and priority access for residents and essential goods or services.

Local councils can hold meetings in a more flexible manner to speed up their decisions.

The province will also be able to make use of local facilities such as community centers for services such as testing, medical care, self-isolation, or warehousing and distribution.

Farnworth says local governments and First Nations are working to ensure their communities are protected from the impact of COVID-19 and these measures “will make sure communities are taking necessary steps, in coordination with the province, to get ready should more action be required.”