The B.C. government has extended current COVID-19 health orders banning social gatherings and events in the province until further notice.
The current restrictions do not have an end date and will allow Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to either add additional restrictions or amend the existing ones.
The focus for Henry will shift to what is being described as ‘VVO’ – variants, vaccines, and outbreaks.
“We need to protect the progress we have made. We need to use this time to buy ourselves more time,” Henry said.
Henry noted the hope is to ease the restrictions in late February if the vaccine program gears up and if the COVID-19 variants of concern are under control.
The province is working with ViaSport to plan for youth sports to be back up and running by the end of February if restrictions are eased. The province is also aiming for easing the social gathering ban if spread is under control.
“By the end of the month we can look to have our Save Six,” Henry said.
What does this mean for you?
Currently, all events and social gatherings remain suspended.
This includes activities such as indoor and outdoor events, with the exception of drive-in and drop-off events.
Suspended events also include musical or theatre performances, galas, silent auctions and watching movies in theatres.
Funerals, weddings and baptisms can still be held with a maximum of 10 people attending, including the officiant. Receptions are not allowed, however.
Meetings, such as city council meetings and alcoholic anonymous meetings can still be held as long as COVID-19 guidelines are in place.
Rental and home viewings are restricted to a maximum of six people if space allows.
In-person religious gatherings and worship services remain suspended.
Employers must make every effort to provide work from home options where possible.
Fitness centres, studios, gyms and exercise facilities are allowed to operate with safety guidelines in place, but high-intensity activities remain suspended.
Indoor and outdoor team sports for people 22 years of age and older are suspended.
All organized indoor and outdoor sports for people 21 years of age and younger must follow viaSport’s Return to Sport Phase 2 guidance.
There can be no travel for games or training unless the athlete’s home club is outside of their immediate community.
The B.C. government is releasing its latest COVID-19 modeling data Friday and there’s concern around the virus variants currently circulating in the province.
Due to the shortage of vaccines and the unknown nature of the variants, the province is still grappling with what additional measures would be effective in reducing deaths linked to COVID-19 and reducing the spread of the virus.
Henry said based on the information provided by the province, right now British Columbians are having about half the number of contacts in a typical day as pre-pandemic. If behaviour continues this way, the province’s data shows the transmission of the virus will continue to go down through the end of March.
More to come.
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