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Health & Safety

Updated:
October 8, 2021

As of September 13, 2021, proof of vaccination is required to access some events, services and businesses (at least one dose is required). By October 24, 2021 you must be fully vaccinated. The requirement is in place until January 31, 2022 and could be extended

Click here to learn more about the vaccine card or to get your vaccine card

Updated:
October 8, 2021

BC's Restart is a careful, four-step plan to bring British Columbians back together. Beginning on May 25, British Columbians can gradually begin to restart important social connections, businesses and activities. Getting vaccinated is the most important tool supporting the restart.

 

Below is a breakdown of the four steps.


 

 

Step 1: Starting May 25

Step 2: Began June 15

Step 3: Began July 1

Step 4: Delayed

Criteria

At least 60% of the 18+ population vaccinated with dose 1, along with stable case counts and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

At least 65% of the 18+ population vaccinated with dose 1, along with declining case counts and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

At least 70% of the 18+ population vaccinated with dose 1, along with low case counts and declining COVID-19 hospitalizations.

More than 70% of the 18+ population vaccinated with dose 1, along with low case counts and low COVID-19 hospitalizations.

PHO Guidelines (i.e. masks, social distancing)

Physical distancing and masks continue to be required in public indoor settings. If you or anyone in your family feels sick, stay home and get tested immediately.

Physical distancing and masks continue to be required in public indoor settings. If you or anyone in your family feels sick, stay home and get tested immediately.

Masks are recommended in public indoor settings. Engage in careful social contact. If you or anyone in your family feels sick, stay home and get tested immediately.

Masks in public indoor settings are a personal choice. Normal social contact. If you or anyone in your family feels sick, stay home and get tested immediately.

Personal Gatherings

Outdoor personal gatherings of up to 10 people. Indoor personal gatherings up to 5 people or 1 other household.

Outdoor personal gatherings up to 50 people (birthday parties, backyard BBQs, block parties), Playdates.

Return to usual for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings. Sleepovers.

Return to normal personal gatherings and social contact.

Organized Gatherings

Outdoor seated organized gatherings of up to 50 people with a COVID-19 Safety Plan. Indoor seated organized gatherings of up to 10 people with a COVID-19 Safety Plan. Work with faith-based leaders to bring back in-person worship services.

Indoor seated organized gatherings of up to 50 people with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Increased capacity at both indoor and outdoor organized gatherings with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. Fairs and festivals can operate with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.

Increased capacity at large organized gatherings, like a concert.

Travel

Recreational travel within your travel region is allowed. Non-essential travel between travel regions continues to be restricted.

Provincial travel restrictions lifted. Recreational travel within B.C. allowed. BC Transit and BC Ferries offer increased service as needed.

Canada-wide recreational travel.

Canada-wide recreational travel.

Businesses

Indoor and outdoor dining for groups up to 6 people (not restricted to your household or bubble). Liquor served until 10 pm.

Liquor served until midnight. Banquet halls can operate with limited capacity and a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

No group limit for indoor and outdoor dining. Liquor service restrictions lifted. Bingo halls, casinos and nightclubs can operate with a limited capacity.

Businesses will continue to operate based on the new COVID-19 safety guidelines and their updated COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Offices and Workplaces

Start a gradual return to workplaces. Employers must continue to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and daily health check in place.

Continued return to the workplace. Small, in-person meetings allowed.

Continued return to the workplace. Seminars and bigger meetings allowed.

Workplaces fully reopened.

Sports and exercise

Indoor low intensity group exercise allowed with limited capacity. Outdoor games and practices for both adults and youth group/team sports allowed. No spectators at any indoor or outdoor sport activities.

Indoor high intensity group exercise allowed with reduced capacity. Indoor games and practices for both adults and youth group/team sports allowed. No spectators at any indoor sport activities. Outdoor spectators up to 50 allowed.

All indoor fitness classes allowed, usual capacity. Limited indoor spectators allowed.

Return to normal sport competitions with an updated COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. Increased outdoor and indoor spectators.


 

There are four essential components that the government will monitor when deciding whether to move forward in the four step plan:

  • Declining COVID-19 case counts
  • Increasing vaccination rate in people 18+
  • Declining COVID-19 hospitalizations, including critical care
  • Declining COVID-19 mortality rate

To learn more, see the full B.C. Restart Plan.

For a detailed list of current province-wide restrictions and orders, see the Province-wide restrictions.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

Four vaccines have been approved by Health Canada. They are the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/SII COVISHIELD (AZ/SII) and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

The vaccines are free for all British Columbians. Below is a breakdown of the four vaccination phases, as set out in the  BC COVID-19 Immunization Plan.

All British Columbians that are 12+ can now register to get vaccinated. B.C. is currently in Phase 4 of the BC COVID-19 Immunization Plan.

Phase

Timeline

Priority Groups

Phase 1

Dec 2020 - Feb 2021

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Individuals assessed for and awaiting long-term care
  • Residents and staff of assisted living residences
  • Essential visitors to long-term care facilities and assisted living residences
  • Hospital health care workers who may provide care for COVID-19 patients in settings like Intensive Care Units, emergency departments, paramedics, medical units and surgical units
  • Remote and isolated Indigenous communities

Phase 2

Feb 2021 - April 2021

  • Hospital staff, community general practitioners (GPs) and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1
  • Vulnerable populations living and working in select congregated settings
  • Staff in community home support and nursing services
  • Seniors born in 1941 or earlier not immunized in Phase 1
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) peoples born in 1956 or earlier, Elders and additional Indigenous communities not immunized in Phase 1

Phase 3

April 2021 - May 2021

  • People aged 79 to 60, in five year increments
  • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) peoples aged 64 to 18 (D1 April)
  • People aged 74 to 16 who are clinically extremely vulnerable (D1 March/April)

Phase 4

May 2021 - June 2021

People aged 59 to 18, in five year increments

Second dose appointment invites are sent approximately 28 days after your first dose.

If you are missing your second dose booking invitation, you must register with the system once. This includes people who booked their first dose before April 6 through a health authority call centre: seniors, elders, Indigenous Peoples, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and health care workers. 

To read more about the second dose, learn which vaccine you can recieve, or to register with the system, see Get your second vaccine dose.

For all your COVID-19 immunization questions, see Immunize BC’s Q&A page.

Reminder: Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders and guidelines remain in place for everyone, regardless if they have received the vaccine. 

For more information, see the Government of BC COVID-19 Vaccines page, and BCCDC’s Plan for Vaccine Distribution in BC.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

Masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+).

To learn more, you can read BC’s Restart Plan or see the updated Province-wide Restrictions.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

According to the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), if you are under a Boil Water or Do Not Consume Advisory, it is still safe to wash your hands with soap and water.

See the FNHA COVID-19 website for more information on staying healthy during the health crisis. However, if you are living with a Do Not Use (DNU) advisory you should wash with bottled water. For specific water advisories and more information see HERE.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

For the most up to date information, visit Recreation Sites and Trails BC. Click HERE for a list of parks that are open to visitors.

Booking for BC residents for the 2021 season is now open. Click HERE to make your reservation. For more information regarding the specific operating dates for your preferred park please visit the individual park webpages.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

The Federal Government has created COVID 19: Indigenous awareness resources which contains information and resources in Indigenous languages.

The Provincial Government has translated its COVID-19 Coronavirus content into 

If you are unable to open the links, check back later. They are likely being updated.

The BC Centre of Disease Control has also provided translated handouts and videos in multiple languages HERE.

The City of Vancouver has made their COVID-19 resource available in multiple languages including Korean, Tagalog, Chinese (traditional and simplified), and Farsi among others. Find Vancouver resources in your language HERE.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

Canadians are strongly recommended to cancel or postpone all international travel.

Take this short questionnaire to find out if you can come to Canada. Use the federal ArriveCAN application to plan your trip.

On July 5, 2021, COVID-19 fully vaccinated travellers may be exempt from some quarantine restrictions upon arrival to Canada. To learn more about the exemptions and to determine if you meet the conditions, see HERE.

Effective January 7, 2021, at 12:01 am EST, all air passengers five years of age or older will be required to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling from another country to Canada. Documentation of a negative laboratory test result must be presented to the airline prior to boarding a flight to Canada. The test must be performed using a COVID-19 molecular polymerase chain reaction (or PCR) test and must be taken within 72 hours prior to the traveller’s scheduled departure to Canada.

As of February 21, 2021, at 11:59 pm ET, travellers, unless exempt, will also be required to:

  • take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival in Canada
  • stay in a hotel for 3 nights while they await the results of the COVID-19 molecular test they received on arrival
  • pay for their hotel, as well as all associated costs for food, cleaning and security

All hotels will be located near one of the 4 Canadian airports currently accepting international flights:

  1. Vancouver International Airport
  2. Calgary International Airport
  3. Toronto Pearson International Airport
  4. Montreal-Trudeau International Airport

Anyone who receives a negative test result and is authorized to enter Canada must still complete the full, mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Travellers arriving to Canada by land or water, as of February 15, 2021, with some exceptions, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of pre-arrival, or a positive test taken 14 to 90 days prior to arrival. In addition, as of February 22, 2021, travellers entering Canada at the land border will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test on arrival as well as toward the end of their 14-day quarantine.

See HERE for a full list of restrictions and requirements when returning to Canada.

The Government of Canada will be further increasing surveillance efforts to ensure travellers entering Canada complete the applicable mandatory 14-day quarantine period under the Quarantine Act. Travellers to Canada must use the ArriveCAN App or website and provide accurate contact information and their mandatory 14-day quarantine plan on or before entry.

Violating any instructions provided when you enter Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

On July 1, 2021 BC updated the procedures in place for travellers returning from other countries. Go to Self-Isolation on Return to BC for full details.

 

Self-Isolation Plans

All international travellers returning to B.C., whether by land or air, are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days, submit a self-isolation plan and complete the federal CANArrive application.

Self-isolation plans must be reviewed by provincial government officials before travellers can return home.

You can submit your self-isolation plan and CANArrive application online before you begin your travel back to Canada or upon arrival. Go HERE for instructions on how to fill out your self-isolation plan and federal arrival application.

 

Current Quarantine Orders

On March 17, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) issued a quarantine order directing people returning to B.C. from the U.S. and other international destinations to self-isolate.

On March 25, 2020, the federal government implemented a self-isolation plan for returning international travellers on select flights under the Quarantine Act.

  • The federal government will continue to use its authority under the Quarantine Act to ensure compliance with the order to self-isolate, enforceable by RCMP or local police
  • Maximum penalties for breaking self-isolation orders include a fine of up to $750,000 and/or imprisonment for six months
Updated:
October 8, 2021

All orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don't follow the order could be fined.

As of July 1, 2021, provincial restrictions have eased significantly. However, if you violate any remaining health orders, police and regulatory officers continue to have the power to issue fines.

To see the list of full BC enforcement measures and violation tickets, see Violation tickets for unsafe COVID-19 behaviour.

If you fail to quarantine or isolate  yourself (The federal government website explains the difference) as required upon returning to Canada from abroad, you can be fined or jailed under the Quarantine Act.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

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Home is not safe for everyone. The added stress of the crisis, on top of added financial pressure, and close quarters can trigger violence. Women and victims’ organizations are still operating to assist people facing violence in the home.  

If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911, or call your community police.. You can also call VictimLink BC at 1-800-563-0808. You can search BC Housing for a list of shelters near you. HealthLink BC also provides contact information for other services that support all victims, including youth and seniors.

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) Crisis line remains open, providing emotional support to women experiencing gender-based domestic violence and/or uncertainty during these difficult times. They provide emotional support and can help you develop a safety plan. If safe, call or text 604-652-1867. You can also email them at intake@bwss.org

Transition Houses provide short- to long-term shelter and related support services to women, children, and youth who have experienced or are at risk of violence.  Find more information at www.sheltersafe.ca  

If you fear for your safety you may still be able to get a protection order from Family Court. Both the Supreme Court and Provincial Court will still hear applications if a judge determines the matter is urgent, including urgent applications for protection orders. See the BC Family Justice’s COVID -19 Legal Questions and the Legal Aid BC’s (formerly Legal Services Society) Q & A - Family Violence for more information and direction.

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Updated:
September 20, 2021

If you are in immediate danger call 911. If you are not in immediate danger, call SAIL ((Senior Abuse & Information Line) a safe place for older adults and those who care about them to talk to someone about situations of abuse and mistreatment. They are available 8am-8pm. Line Tel: 604-437-1940 / Toll Free: 1-866-437-1940. For more information go to Seniors First BC. Additional support services for mistreated seniors can be found at Where to Get Help on the Government of BC website.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

The First Nations Community Guide to Accessing Additional Supports provides a list of federal resources and services available to Indigenous communities during the COVID -19 Coronavirus health crisis. It also includes specifics about how funding will be allocated to help the First Nation community health response. The Federal Government has also created the Indigenous Community Support Fund to assist Indigenous Communities prepare for, prevent,  and respond to COVID-19 Coronavirus. The Federal Government has also created COVID 19: Indigenous awareness resources which contains information and resources in Indigenous languages. 

The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) has a comprehensive list of COVID-19 Coronavirus financial, health, and wellness resources. The First Nations Public Service Secretariat has created a list that summarizes the federal and provincial supports available to all First Nations people HERE

The First Nations Health Authority has provided a  COVID-19 resources for individuals and families. The provincial government has also set up a COVID-19 Information for First Nations and Indigenous Peoples page to provide resources to support First Nations in managing COVID-19. 

For mental health support, Hope for Wellness provides emotional support and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. You can call to connect with a counsellor. On request, phone counselling is also available in: Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut. HelpLine: 1-855-242-3310 or www.hopeforwellness.ca

You may also call the KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous peoples in B.C.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

What’s on Queer BC has put together Need//Assist: COVID-19 Resources to help community members with issues arising during the health crisis such as food security, employment, mental health, and other community supports. This resource also has information on how you can help out during the crisis. Additionally, QCHAT is a peer support line and resource database for LGBTQ2S youth in British Columbia. They have a talkline open Monday to Wednesday, 6:00-9:00pm, toll-free at 1-855-956-1777.

Trans Care BC also delivers care and provides information to support trans people across the province. They have a growing list of peer support groups across BC for trans, gender diverse and Two-Spirit community members and their parents, caregivers, and support networks. It can be found HERE.

Qmunity, BC’s Queers, Trans, and Two-Spirit resource centre, offers free and reduced-cost health and wellness counselling for individuals, couples, relationships, and families. All of our counsellors are members of the LGBTQ2S+ communities. They also have a youth program and a program for older adults. For youth, please reach out to their Youth Specialist, Han either through email at youth@qmunity.ca, or directly on Facebook chat, through the GAB Youth Facebook group. You can also reach out to their Social Worker, Jennie at jennie.mw@qmunity.ca For older adults please call or email Courtney Dieckbrader, Specialist in Seniors Programming and get connected. Phone 604.684.5307 ext. 110, email seniors@qmunity.ca

 

Updated:
October 8, 2021

These feelings are completely reasonable reactions to what is happening right now. You are not alone! Learn what to do if you’re anxious or worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) from Anxiety Canada.

The federal government has launched the Wellness Together Canada online portal to help Canadians get connected to FREE mental health and substance use support, resources and counselling with a mental health professional. 

For immediate crisis support 

  • Adults text WELLNESS to 741741
  • Frontline workers text FRONTLINE to 741741
  • Youth can text WELLNESS to 686868

Call 911 if you are in immediate danger or need urgent medical support.

BC is expanding mental health services and creating new programs. Go HERE for help finding virtual mental health support during COVID-19.

Here are some more resources to help you cope:

 

For Indigenous Peoples, Hope for Wellness provides emotional support and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples across Canada. You can call to connect with a counsellor. On request, phone counselling is also available in: Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut. Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 or www.hopeforwellness.ca

The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) has a comprehensive list of COVID-19 Coronavirus financial, health, and wellness resources.

Call the KUU-US Crisis Response Service at 1-800-588-8717 for culturally-aware crisis support for Indigenous peoples in B.C.

Updated:
September 20, 2021

Always check the BCCDC for up to date health information, but in general,  you must self-isolate if:

  1. You have COVID-19 Coronavirus
  2. You have had close contact with a confirmed case of the COVID-19 Coronavirus
  3. You have recently returned to Canada. Since March 25, 2020, by Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act it is mandatory for any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19
  4. You have symptoms of COVID-19 Coronavirus including a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing. Use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. If you have symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or sneezing, avoid contact with others and self-isolate at home for at least 10 days. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, or have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your doctor, local public health office, or call 8-1-1. The BCCDC also provides further instructions to follow if you suspect you are ill. 

See the BCCDC’s guide to Self-Isolation for information on when and how to self-isolate.

If you have questions related to COVID-19 you can call: 

  • BC Coronavirus Information Line: 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Service: 1-833-784-4397
  • HealthLink BC for health-related questions: 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C., or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1 or contact us through Video Relay Services. Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
Updated:
October 12, 2021

There is a lot of misinformation about COVID-19 Coronavirus, particularly about supposed cures. Always check official sources for information about the disease.

The BC Centre of Disease Control (BCCDC) has the best information available on the status of the outbreak in British Columbia and how to protect yourself and others. Go to the BCCBC’s COVID-19 page and their Common Questions page.

First Nations and Indigenous Peoples of BC may go for a list of sources providing general information and support for Indigenous Peoples during the COVID-19 Coronavirus health crisis. 

For Federal resources go to the Federal Government’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update for more information on the Government of Canada’s precautions at international airports and borders.

World Health Organization FAQ: For more commonly asked questions and answers on COVID-19.

Updated:
October 8, 2021

There is a lot of information and misinformation available about Coronavirus. Be sure to always check official sources before you share information. Here are some reliable sources of information on COVID-19:

The Government of Canada’s website on COVID-19 has up to date information, guidance and support programs available during the crisis. 

The Government of British Columbia’s COVID-19 Coronavirus response is updated daily. The BC website now has its COVID-19 content translated into Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi, and Tagalog.

The B.C. government has launched a COVID-19 support app to help provide residents with the latest information on the ongoing pandemic. The app can be downloaded through the Apple Store or Google Play and is also available as a website online here.

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