B.C. RCMP provide early update on COVID-19 travel checkpoints for May long weekend

B.C. RCMP have provided a preliminary update on travel checkpoints for the May long weekend.

The checkpoints, set up in four spots across the province, are in place to enforce the temporary ban on non-essential travel to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey provided data from Thursday, May 20, for the checkpoints on Highway 3 near Manning Park and Highway 5 in the Old Toll Booth area.

Traffic patrol officers say that on Thursday they stopped 732 vehicles, and turned two around for non-essential travel on Highway 5, and at Manning Park on Highway 3, they stopped 336 vehicles and only turned around one.

Police are not staffing the checkpoints around the clock, and therefore their numbers do not reflect the total number of vehicles travelling along those highways.

O’Donaghey said that preliminary observations from travel on Friday – the beginning of the May long weekend – showed an uptick in vehicles.

“According to those operating the Manning Park road check on Friday, it appeared as though there was an increase in traffic coming through that location,” he said in an email.

Earlier this week, police announced that they were ramping up enforcement at the check points, saying they were “increasing the number and duration” of road checks through Victoria Day.

The government temporarily banned non-essential travel between three designated regions of the province in April, and the RCMP has been setting up rotating road checks at four locations for the past two-and-a-half weeks to intercept drivers.

Last weekend saw a significant spike in traffic, with officers stopping 2,069 vehicles from May 14 to 16. Some 30 drivers agreed to turn around voluntarily, authorities said.

By comparison, officers stopped 1,412 vehicles from May 6 to 8, and only one driver was turned around.

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