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Health & Safety

Updated:
August 10, 2020

On August 7, 2020 Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a new order regarding mass gatherings. See the order regarding Gatherings and Events for exact wording but it limits the number of people who can attend an event at a vacation accommodation to 5 people plus the staying at the accommodation. 

Up to 50 people can attend an event at a place that is not a vacation accommodation as long as certain conditions are met such as there being an organizer and the number of people attending the event is closely monitored.

Updated:
August 10, 2020

We are now in Phase 3. That means certain businesses are allowed to increase activities and travel around B.C. is encouraged in some locations. Not all communities want visitors however so be sure to be respectful and check ahead of time. 

The following is still true: 

  • If you come arrive in BC from another country you MUST quarantine for 14 days
  • Groups of 50 or more people are not allowed - even if it is outdoors. 
  • If you feel sick STAY HOME - even if you wear a mask.

Learn more about Phase 3 Dr. Bonnie Henry’s guide for safe and respectful travel around B.C. HERE.

Updated:
August 7, 2020

While we all look forward to future road trips and exploring new parks, for now, the government asks that you stay close to home, avoid non-essential travel outside of the province, and enjoy where you live. By temporarily avoiding non-essential travel, British Columbians can do their part to protect vulnerable people in communities from COVID-19. International travellers returning to BC are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan

All Canada-US border crossings are restricted to essential travel March 21 for the duration of the provincial state of emergency, at which point it will be reviewed by both parties. “Non-essential” includes travel considered tourism or recreational in nature.

If you are travelling from BC to another province, please check with that province for travel restrictions or guidance in place.

All provincial travel is now permitted for BC residents. Some towns, communities and regions who rely on tourism are eager to welcome visitors with safety measures in place. The majority of provincial parks and campgrounds are open for visitors. Other communities might be hesitant to welcome outside visitors this summer and people need to respect that. As part of Phase 3, the government encourages British Columbians to be respectful of the communities you plan to visit and be safe as you enjoy the many beautiful locations across our province.

For more details regarding BC travel, BC borders, and access to recreation sites and active transportation routes, see the Government of BC website. For information about travel within Canada or departing Canada, see the Government of Canada’s travel restrictions, exemptions and advice.

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Updated:
August 10, 2020

Facemasks can be worn to help protect those around you, and the BCCDC advises that they should be worn by people who are sick to prevent transmission to other people. The mask acts as a barrier and helps stop the tiny droplets from spreading when you cough or sneeze. Wearing a mask does not make it okay to go out but it can help prevent the spread of germs at home especially if you cannot separate yourself from others in the home.

If you are healthy, wearing a non-medical or cloth mask or face covering is a matter of personal choice but can help to protect others. Some people can spread the virus when they have very mild symptoms or may be unaware they are infected. Wearing a cloth mask will not protect you from COVID-19 but it is a good option in situations where you cannot keep a safe distance from others for an extended period of time such as when you are on transit, getting a haircut or visiting someone indoors. Do not put a face mask or any covering including visors and eye protection on infants under two years of age.

NOTE: BC Transit and Translink will be proceeding with mandatory use of face coverings while on-board all transit vehicles in communities across the Province as of Monday August 24, 2020. While face coverings will be mandatory, the policy will be implemented with a focus on awareness and education. For more information, including those exempt from this mandate, see BC Transit Coronavirus COVID-19 Information and Translink’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
Walmart will also require face masks at all stores nationwide beginning August 12, 2020.

Any mask, no matter how efficient at filtration or how good the seal, will have minimal effect if it is not used together with other preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing. For more information, visit the BCCDC.

Note: Some provinces have made masks mandatory in certain settings. Before travelling to another province, make sure you are aware of the new bylaws.

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Updated:
August 7, 2020

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:
August 7, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to keep kids cooped up indoors, Global News reports that “there’s been a rise in the online sexual exploitation of Canadian children,” according to a national tipline. Cybertip.ca says it saw a 66 percent spike in reports in April compared to the three previous months. The tipline processes reports from the public about potentially illegal material, including child pornography or online luring, and aims to act as a “triage” for law enforcement and child welfare. Moreover, there’s a new type of predator to worry about and they call themselves “cappers.” They trick children into committing illicit acts over livestream while secretly recording a video, which they then use to blackmail the child.

Parents can go to Cybertips.ca for their guide on Keeping Kids Safe Online While Out of School which includes advice on what parents should be aware of and what parents can do to keep their children safe online. The Government of Canada also has resources to protect your entire family online.

Updated:
August 7, 2020

If you are interested to support the response to Coronavirus COVID-19, there are many ways you can help. Information below is provided by the Government of Canada. It lists concrete, meaningful ways to contribute and make a real difference in the lives of fellow Canadians. For a full list of initiatives, see COVID-19: How you can make a difference.

FluWatchers

FluWatchers is an online surveillance system that normally helps track the spread of flu-like illness across Canada. We are using its established network of volunteers to track COVID-19 Coronavirus. You can participate by anonymously answering 2 quick health-related questions each week to help show Canadians where COVID-19 is circulating.

Sign up to be a FluWatcher

Supplies to help Canada respond

Can your business supply products and services to help Canada's response to COVID-19 Coronavirus? We want to hear from you.

Supply a needed product or service

Volunteer for the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program

Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program is a provincial initiative to help seniors stay safe while ensuring their basic needs are met. The program matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials, to volunteers in their community who are willing to help. When you register as a volunteer, your contact information is shared with the United Way's Better at Home agencies. Those agencies make the connections between seniors and volunteers in the community.

Sign up to volunteer

Updated:
August 7, 2020

As of June 29 , many campgrounds across the province have re-opened for the 2020 camping season, with more campgrounds to open in the weeks to come. Overnight camping is once again permitted at recreation sites. On May 14, BC Parks began to reopen the majority of provincial parks and protected areas and marine parks. Some areas and facilities remain closed, including playgrounds, picnic shelters and visitor centres. 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.

BC Parks has also introduced new camping opportunities that will be available in the coming weeks. Some group campsites have been repurposed to accommodate ‘extended family’ camping and are available on Discover Camping for reservation. These new family camping opportunities will be available as of June 29, 2020. For details on where these opportunities have been added, please refer to the Family Camping (repurposed group campsites) Details.

Visitors are asked to visit parks close to home, respect any facility or area closures and must follow the physical distancing requirements set out by the PHO. Visitors should bring their own hand sanitizer and are asked to practice appropriate hygiene.  If you are sick, please visit another time. Take a look at the BC Parks Guide to Camping During Covid-19 to get a better idea of what to expect when you arrive at a BC campground. For more information, see COVID-19 updates on BC Parks and Recreation Sites and Trails BC.

Many municipal parks, beaches and gardens remain open. Certain parks have reduced services, including facility closures and parking limitations. Some public playgrounds and schoolyards remain closed. Check with your local municipality regarding parks near you. 

While enjoying a park, beach or garden, maintain social distancing of 2 metres. See: Can I get in legal trouble if I don’t practice “social distancing?”.

 

Updated:
August 7, 2020

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 

 

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:
August 7, 2020

On June 26th, 2020 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. 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.

 

Assessment Process on Arrival

Starting April 8, 2020, additional screening measures will be put in place for people returning to B.C. from international locations including the United States by air, land or sea.

 

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:
August 10, 2020

The guidance from authorities to stay home except for essential errands, and to keep six feet apart from others, is strong advice, not the law.

Some of the social distancing rules do have the force of law, however.

The province’s public health orders are examples. These include the order prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people, and an order requiring restaurants and pubs to take measures to physically distance groups of patrons. The latter order, which was updated on July 31, 2020, spells out how establishments must keep two metres between groups of patrons and get contact information for one member of every group (among other measures).

So far, though, in guidance to its bylaw officers, the province is focusing its efforts on monitoring and education. The officers (and police) are not empowered to fine or detain people in enforcing these orders. Vancouver’s bylaw officers are similarly focused on monitoring and educating to date.

One rule has more severe penalties if you don’t follow it. If you’ve just returned to Canada from abroad, you must isolate or quarantine, depending on if you have symptoms. (The federal government website explains the difference.) You can be fined or jailed for failing to follow this order.

Updated:
August 7, 2020

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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:
August 7, 2020

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.

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Updated:
August 7, 2020

BC211 has started the Safe Seniors Strong Communities program that matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials, to volunteers in their community who are willing to help.  Support includes grocery shopping, meal preparation, prescription pick up and phone/virtual visits. Sign up at BC211.

Updated:
August 7, 2020

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 PDF that summarizes the federal and provincial supports available to all First Nations people. 

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:
August 7, 2020

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:
August 7, 2020

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:
August 7, 2020

No. Canada has imposed a mandatory 14 days self-isolation on all people coming into Canada for both people who have symptoms, and those who do not have symptoms. This means you must go directly home, and you are not to stop at a grocery store, or anywhere else, on your way home. See the Federal government's notice to travellers returning to Canada and the fact sheet on travellers without symptoms returning to Canada.

Go to the BC Centre of Disease Control for guidance on how and when to self-isolate.

If you do not self-quarantine you may be faced with fines or criminal charges. For more information on what that means see the federal government’s advisory HERE and the BC Centre of Disease Control’s guide to self-isolation

If you are a senior who has recently returned and need non-medical assistance (such as buying groceries) sign up for BC211’s Safe Seniors Strong Communities Program.

Updated:
August 7, 2020

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 Coronavirus, 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. 

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:
August 7, 2020

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

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

Updated:
August 7, 2020

We do our best to keep the information up to date but please check official resources for health information about the disease.

Everyone should be following the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) guidelines and practice physical distancing as much as possible. 

The BCCDC says:

Physical distancing is limiting close contact with other people to slow the spread of an infectious disease. This includes keeping two meters apart from others in public. 

Self-isolation means staying home and avoiding situations where you could come in contact with others. While you are self-isolating in BC, you will be required to monitor for new symptoms or signs of coronavirus such as fever, cough, sore throat, etc. 

Although not required, wearing a non-medical or cloth mask is a good option in situations where you cannot keep a safe distance from others for an extended period of time such as when you are on transit, getting a haircut or visiting someone indoors. 

See BCCDC’s Common Questions page for more information. 

Updated:
August 7, 2020

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 HERE for a list of sources providing general information and support for Indigenous Peoples during the COVID-19 Coronavirus health crisis, including the First Nations Health Authority

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:
August 7, 2020

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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