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B.C. extends ban on social gatherings until Jan. 8, restricting Christmas and New Year’s events

Click to play video 'Dr. Bonnie Henry extends ban on social gatherings into new year' Dr. Bonnie Henry extends ban on social gatherings into new year
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announces on Monday, December 7 she is extending the December 4 public health order restricting people from visiting other people in their residences and gatherings and events "as defined" until midnight of January 8, 2021. – Dec 7, 2020

B.C. health officials have extended a widespread ban on social gatherings with anyone outside of one’s immediate household through the holiday season until midnight on Jan. 8, 2021.

On Monday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also extended the requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces and the ban on adult indoor and outdoor team sports until the same date.

This means British Columbians will not be able to get together with anyone they don’t already live with — not even in parks, backyards or restaurants — to celebrate the holidays.

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Christmas cancelled: B.C. public health orders extended through January – Dec 7, 2020

Drive-thru holiday events that allow people to stay in their vehicles with members of their households can proceed. Events, such as a drive-in movie, have a capacity of 50 vehicles.

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Drive-thru events such as toy drives can also go ahead.

All other holiday events are cancelled, Henry said.

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B.C. has no plans to extend winter break in schools – Dec 7, 2020

The restrictions around in-person religious services also remain in place, including on holiday-based gatherings such as mass.

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Weddings, baptisms and funerals are still allowed to take place with a maximum of 10 people, but any gatherings before or after, such as receptions, are still off-limits.

All British Columbians are still being asked to avoid non-essential travel. Loved ones travelling home from work or post-secondary education are urged to immediately enter and stay in a household bubble and follow the provincial orders.

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Clearing up confusion over possible exceptions to the ‘stay within your household’ rule for Christmas – Dec 10, 2020

Since the sweeping measures were put in place across B.C. on Nov. 19, there has not been a significant drop in the number of COVID-19 cases, Henry said Monday.

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On Nov. 19, 217 people were in hospital with the disease. On Monday, there were 349 people in hospital.

As of Nov. 19, B.C.’s death toll due to COVID-19 stood at 321 people. On Monday, the death toll stood at 527 people.

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Coronavirus: Exception to ban made for B.C. holiday drive-by or drop off events – Dec 8, 2020

Read more: B.C. reports 2,020 new COVID-19 cases over three days as death toll surpasses 500

Henry had banned all social gatherings with anyone other than one’s immediate household as well as all indoor group physical activities in the Lower Mainland back on Nov. 7, amid a surge in cases. She also ordered all workplaces to conduct active, in-person screening for COVID-19.

On Nov. 19, she extended the ban on social gatherings to Dec. 7 and expanded it to the entire province. She also announced that people must wear masks in all indoor public places, avoid non-essential travel, and in-person religious services.

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Christmas scenarios with family during the pandemic: Breaking down what’s allowed – Dec 10, 2020

Read more: Adult outdoor and indoor team sports banned in British Columbia, kids dance classes allowed again

Last week, Henry banned all adult indoor and outdoor team sports, though kids’ dance classes are still allowed, over concerns that people were carpooling to games together or gathering socially before, after or even during play.

Churches and other religious spaces can still be used for child care and self-help meetings.

The newly extended orders will not impact hair salons and restaurants, Henry added, but customers can only visit with people in their immediate households.

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