The authorities in B.C. announced additional COVID-19 measures to address rising case counts that could result in increased hospitalizations and critical care admissions during the holiday season.
The revised provincial health officer orders will take effect on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021, at 11:59 p.m., and will extend to Jan. 18, 2022, at 11:59 p.m.
The restrictions will include no organized indoor social events and gatherings of any size, while concerts, sports games and theatres will be reduced to 50% seated capacity, regardless of venue size.
The gyms, fitness centres and dance studios will remain closed together with bars and nightclubs, the B.C. government said in a statement, adding that the table sizes at restaurants, cafes and pubs will be limited to a maximum of six people per table with physical distancing or barriers.
“COVID-19 cases continue to increase at a concerning rate, and we must take stronger measures to help protect British Columbians and ensure our health-care system is there when people need it,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “It’s a critical time in our fight against COVID-19. Now is the time for us to act, and to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our loved ones safe.”
Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said “I know everyone is looking forward to being around their family and friends this holiday season after two challenging years. These restrictions balance the need for people to come together with the people they love with the need to collectively act to slow the spread of COVID-19. We know how to get through this – by following the same measures we’ve followed in the past to protect each other.”
In addition to the provincial health officer’s orders, British Columbians are advised to get fully vaccinated if they have not already done so, to get their booster shot as soon as one is offered, to stay home if they are sick, to avoid all travel if not fully vaccinated and to follow the travel advisory issued by the federal government to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada.