Grandparents who have been taking care of their grandchildren can spend the holidays with those grandchildren even if they are not part of the same immediate household, B.C.’s health minister says.
Adrian Dix made the comments Wednesday after health officials extended a widespread ban on social gatherings amid a continued rise in COVID-19 cases and blocked people from getting together with anyone they don’t already live with — not even in parks, backyards or restaurants — to celebrate the holidays.
However, Dix said, his clarification was not an invitation for grandparents to start looking after their grandchild now so that they’re able to have Christmas dinner with extended family.
“Absolutely I have heard that question asked, and it’s probably the case that they could,” Dix told reporters. “But I would say, right now: When in doubt, rule it out.”
On Monday, the province extended the ban on social gatherings with anyone outside of one’s immediate household until midnight on Jan. 8, as community transmission of the virus remains high.
Despite that ban, grandparents have still been allowed to care for loved ones as an essential service.
The health minister’s guidance could also apply to other family members who care for a child.
Other restrictions that were extended until January are the requirement to wear mask in all public, indoor places and to avoid all non-essential travel.
“We want this to be a Christmas we celebrate virtually and support one another,” Dix said. “It is for the safety of everyone involved right now, especially the elders, over the Christmas period.”