COVID-19: The countdown is on to B.C.’s step two of the restart plan

Click to play video: 'Is B.C. on track for second stage of COVID-19 restart plan?' Is B.C. on track for second stage of COVID-19 restart plan?
Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Reka Gustafson responds to a question at Monday's COVID-19 briefing about the province opening up to fewer restrictions on June 15. Gustafson says key indicators are positive and "going in the right direction." – Jun 7, 2021

By next Tuesday, B.C. could be into step two of the province’s COVID-19 restart plan.

The earliest start date for this step would be June 15.

At least 65 per cent of the adult population must have received at least one dose of the vaccine before the province can move to step two. In addition, COVID case counts and hospitalizations have to be in decline.

As of May 29, 59.47 per cent of the population in B.C. has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Réka Gustafson reported Monday that the seven-day average of daily cases is now 177, the lowest since Oct. 20.

The number of people in hospital with the disease dipped by 25 to 199, marking the first time the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in B.C. dipped below 200 since mid-November. The number of people in intensive care rose by four to 63.

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Click to play video: 'Second AstraZeneca doses now available' Second AstraZeneca doses now available
Second AstraZeneca doses now available – Jun 7, 2021

Read more: COVID-19: B.C. reports 12 deaths, more than 480 new cases over three days

“Cases are declining, hospitalizations are declining, critical care admissions are declining, and mortality has remained low throughout this third wave of the pandemic,” Gustafson said Monday. “All of the indicators are in the right direction. So this is very, very encouraging.”

Physical distancing and masks in all indoor public spaces would still be required in stage two.

However, outdoor personal gatherings of up to 50 people would be allowed, along with playdates for children.

Indoor seated gatherings of up to 50 people with a COVID-19 safety plan would be permitted.

Provincial travel restrictions would be lifted, recreational travel within the province would be allowed, and transit and ferry services could be increased as needed.

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When it comes to businesses, liquor could be served until midnight, banquet halls could operate with limited capacity and a COVID safety plan and more people could return to their workplaces.
Indoor high-intensity group exercise would be allowed with reduced capacity and indoor games and practices for both adults and youth group/team sports. Up to 50 spectators would be permitted at outdoor games and practices.

However, no spectators permitted at any indoor sports activities.

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