British Columbians will no longer be required to show proof of COVID-19 immunization to attend a concert, eat at a restaurant or go to the gym as of Friday, April 8.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced on Tuesday afternoon the lifting of the last major COVID-19 public health restriction.
However, businesses can decide if they still require a vaccine card for entry, Henry said.
This comes as independent modelers warn of the sixth wave of COVID-19 cases in the province.
But Henry is quick to point out that even though cases may be on the rise, hospitalizations and intensive care visits linked to COVID continue to remain manageable.
“We believe we can remove some of the restrictions weighing the risk. We know some businesses will still decide to use the vaccine card based on their clientele,” Henry said.
“Rates remain very low for most younger people and even those in the 60 and 70s age range. It is very clear having a booster is highly protective.”
The province will also be getting rid of COVID-19 specific safety plans on Friday. The plans will be replaced by communicable disease plans.
The post-secondary residence vaccine requirement will also be lifted on Friday.
The province will also move to weekly COVID-19 data reporting starting on Thursday. The weekly report will include cases, hospitalizations, deaths and other virus-related data.
In announcing the changes, the province also presented the latest modelling data.
Health officials are working on the assumption that around 50 per cent of the entire population have had COVID at some point during the pandemic.
“We have higher potential levels of protection in our community than we have ever had before,” Henry said.
“We are seeing the zero to four population, who do not have access to vaccine, have substantial protection around 60 per cent against the virus due to infection.”
Under this assumption, the province is expecting daily hospitalizations with COVID could increase from about 50 new admissions a day to a little short of 100 a day.
The peak in January was around 115 to 125 new admissions a day.
However, there has been a recent uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations for people 80 years and older.
From January 2022 to March 2022, hospitalizations for the unvaccinated were 400 per 100,000 people. The rate of vaccination for those with two doses was 160 per 100k and for three doses were around 60 per 100k of the population.
B.C. is still in a pandemic, reaching a grim milestone on Friday as the number of deaths since the start of the pandemic topped 3,000.
However, the province also recorded the fewest cases in intensive care since early August.
On Monday, the province reported 321 people in hospital, an increase of 47 since Friday.
WATCH THE FULL APRIL 5, 2022 COVID-19 UPDATE HERE: