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.
I am a BC senior and need help getting food and medication during the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Who can help?
What does the new order say about events, restaurants, and vacation accommodation?
On October 9, 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. However, starting on Sept. 8, banquet halls may not host events until further notice.
Additionally, on Oct. 9, Dr. Henry released an order instructing all nightclubs to close (starting Sept. 8 until further notice) and restaurants, cafes, bars, etc., to stop selling liquor by 10pm and close by 11pm unless a full mean service is being provided. Liquor may not be sold until 11am the following day. See the order HERE.
What is “Phase 3” and how can I travel safely and respectfully around BC?
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.
What type of travel is permitted?
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.
Do I have to wear a mask?
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.
However, some organizations have introduced their own mask policies. See below for a list of locations where face masks are mandatory. 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.
BC Transit, Translink and BC Ferries 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.
Many individual stores, facilities and personal services businesses, such as hair salons, already require customers to wear a mask. If you do not already wear a mask while in indoor public spaces, it may be helpful to carry a mask with you in case you are asked to cover your face.
According to Transport Canada, all Canadian airlines require customers to wear masks while travelling when social distancing is not possible. Check your airline’s website for their mask policy prior to travelling.
- T&T Supermarkets
- Whole Foods Market
- Walmart (August 12, 2020)
- Real Canadian Superstore (August 29, 2020)
- No Frills (August 29, 2020)
- IKEA (August 31, 2020)
- Starbucks (September 14, 2020)
- K-12 (when social distancing is not possible)
- ICBC (when social distancing is not possible)
- LifeLabs (when social distancing is not possible)
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.
Can I still wash my hands if my BC community has a boil water advisory?
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.
My kids are online much more than usual due to COVID-19 Coronavirus. What can I do to ensure they are safe?
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.
I want to do more. How can I help respond to COVID-19 Coronavirus?
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 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.
Download Canada COVID-19 App
The app will support you to track your symptoms, receive the latest updates, and access trusted resources.
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.
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.
Are parks in BC closed due to COVID-19?
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.
The 2020 season booking window for most campgrounds has now closed for 2020. Many campgrounds will remain open on a first come first serve basis through September and October. Campgrounds will reopen for the beginning of the new season in Spring 2021. For more information regarding the specific operating dates for your preferred park please visit the individual park webpages.
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?”.
Where can I find information about COVID-19 Coronavirus in my own language?
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.
I am about to travel back to BC from another country. What COVID-19 rules are in place for travellers?
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.
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