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BC Allows Outdoor Gatherings of Up to 10 People

Updated

Effective March 11, 2021, British Columbians can gather outside in groups of up to 10 people. PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry amended her public health order Thursday, which had banned outdoor gatherings since November. The new guidelines mean families can have play dates and friends can meet outside for a coffee, she said. Continue to use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing during outdoor gatherings. All restrictions for indoor gatherings remain in place. 

Henry advised people should stick to the same group of people, rather than meet with several different groups. Kids who meet should stick to their same school cohorts, she said. Despite the province's case numbers hovering around 500 per day in recent weeks, Henry said the riskiest settings are indoors and the chance of spread decreases outside.

"It is important after all these months to focus on some of the things we can do safely," she said. "Outdoors is where we need to focus right now."

To learn more about the updates, see the March 2021 update HERE.

COVID-19 Updates

  • Apply Now for the Circuit Breaker Business Grant

    Date:
    April 14, 2021

    Eligible bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres can apply for the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant to help support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The grant will provide affected businesses with one-time funding to help with expenses like rent, insurance, employee wages, maintenance and utilities. It can also help cover unexpected costs, such as the purchase of perishable goods, that resulted from COVID-19 restrictions. Businesses affected by the March 30, 2021, provincial health orders will be eligible to receive between $1,000 and $10,000 in grant funding.

    The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant is open to eligible businesses of any size that have been in operation since February 1, 2021. Applications will remain open until June 4, 2021, or until the grant funds are disbursed.

    For more information on eligibility and how to apply, see the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant.

  • Online Vaccine Registration Launched; BC Moves Into Phase 3 of COVID-19 Vaccination

    Date:
    April 13, 2021

    The BC Government has launched a registration form that allows British Columbians to get invited to book an appointment when eligible. This will allow the government to contact you and help your community get the right amount of vaccines. To find out if you are eligible or to register, see HERE.

    To register online, you must provide:

    • First and last name
    • Date of birth 
    • Postal code
    • Personal Health Number
    • An email address that gets checked regularly or a phone number that can receive text messages

    Find your Personal Health Number on the back of your B.C. driver's licence, BC Services Card or CareCard.

    As of April 14, 2021, people 50+ (born 1971 or later) and Indigenous people 18+ can register. Individuals 16+ who are clinically extremely vulnerable may also register. 

    To learn more about vaccine eligibility or for all other COVID-19 vaccine questions, check out Immunization BC’s Q&A page.

  • New Public Health Orders Regarding In-person Food and Liquor Services, Effective March 30th

    Date:
    March 29, 2021

    Effective March 30, 2021 at midnight, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide take-out or delivery service. Dine-in service is prohibited, except for outdoor patios. Outdoor patio dining is permitted only with people in your household or core bubble.

    Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind are now paused under the orders. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only including one-on-one personal training.

    Lastly, the previously announced class variance for limited indoor worship services has been suspended. Outdoor worship services, however, may continue.

    These additional restrictions will be in place until April 19, 2021, unless otherwise directed by the PHO. See the Government of BC website to learn more.

     

  • Permanent Increase In Assistance Rates

    Date:
    March 26, 2021

    More than 300,000 British Columbians will benefit from the largest-ever permanent increase to income assistance and disability assistance rates and the first-ever increase to the senior’s supplement.

    Starting with payments issued in April 2021, individuals on income assistance and disability assistance will automatically receive a permanent $175 per month increase. There will be an increase to the senior’s supplement of $50 per recipient. 

    Lastly, for people on income assistance living in special care facilities, their comforts allowance will increase by $20 to $115 per month. The comforts allowance lets people buy basic personal items.

    For more information, see the BC government news update HERE.

  • Government Investing an Additional $30 Million in the Launch Online Grant Program: Apply Now!

    Date:
    March 26, 2021

    In response to a high number of applications, the BC government is investing an additional $30 million in the Launch Online Grant program. The program provides up to $7,500 to businesses to help build or expand an e-commerce site to reach more customers and to sustain and grow their business. An online presence is integral for businesses that want to adapt their operations to better reach customers in their community, throughout BC and beyond.

    Program application intake is open until September 30, 2021 or until the funds have been fully subscribed. Funding will be awarded on a first-come first-serve basis to small- and medium-sized BC businesses. For more information on the program or to apply, visit www.launchonline.ca

  • BC Allows Outdoor Gatherings of Up to 10 People

    Date:
    March 12, 2021

    Effective March 11, 2021, British Columbians can gather outside in groups of up to 10 people. PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry amended her public health order Thursday, which had banned outdoor gatherings since November. The new guidelines mean families can have play dates and friends can meet outside for a coffee, she said. Continue to use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing during outdoor gatherings. All restrictions for indoor gatherings remain in place. 

    Henry advised people should stick to the same group of people, rather than meet with several different groups. Kids who meet should stick to their same school cohorts, she said. Despite the province's case numbers hovering around 500 per day in recent weeks, Henry said the riskiest settings are indoors and the chance of spread decreases outside.

    "It is important after all these months to focus on some of the things we can do safely," she said. "Outdoors is where we need to focus right now."

    To learn more about the updates, see the March 2021 update HERE.

  • BC Moves into Phase 2 of COVID-19 Immunization Plan

    Date:
    March 2, 2021

    Health officials announced the accelerated timeline on Monday March 1st, as the province moved into the second phase of the COVID-19 Immunization Plan. The second phase will focus on having seniors 80+ (and Indigenous people over 65) immunized.

    Starting Monday, health authorities will contact residents and staff of independent living centres, and those living in seniors' supportive housing, as well as home-care support clients and staff.

    Seniors who do not live in care can call to book their own appointment based on a staggered schedule, which is as follows: 

    • From March 8: Seniors over the age of 90 (those born in or before 1931) and Indigenous people over the age of 65 (those born in or before 1956).
    • From March 15: Seniors over the age of 85 (those born in or before 1936).
    • From March 22: Seniors 80 and older (those born in or before 1941).

    The phone numbers are listed on the provincial government's website. Phone lines are open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. PT. Those who live in the Fraser Health region have the option to book online.

    If a senior cannot call to book themselves, a family member, friend or support person can do so on their behalf. The immunization clinic location will be confirmed on the call, with vaccinations starting as early as March 15 for the first group.

    To learn more about the BC Government’s COVID-19 Immunization plan, see HERE.

     

  • Hotel quarantine measures for air travellers come into effect Feb 22: Trudeau

    Date:
    February 12, 2021

    Air travellers will have to stay in a hotel at their own expense for 72 hours upon arriving to Canada while they wait for the results of Covid-19 testing.

  • BC PHO Extends Province-wide Restrictions; Order Now In Effect Until Further Notice

    Date:
    February 5, 2021

    On February 5, 2021, PHO Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the extension of the province-wide health order restricting gatherings, activities and events. The order that came into effect November 19, 2020 at midnight will be kept in place until further notice based on direction from the PHO.

    To learn more about the province-wide restrictions, please visit the BC Government website.

  • Federal Government to Introduce Quarantine Hotel Stays for International Travelers

    Date:
    January 29, 2021

    On January 29, 2021, the prime minister said that as soon as possible, likely in the coming weeks, the government will be introducing mandatory PCR COVID-19 testing at the airport for people returning to Canada, on top of the pre-boarding test already required. Travellers will then have to wait up to three days at an approved hotel for their test results, at their own expense, which Trudeau said is expected to be more than $2,000. Those with a negative test will then be able to finish their 14-day quarantine at home, with increased surveillance. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam added that returnees will also be swabbed on day 10. She also said travellers who have been vaccinated abroad will still be subject to the quarantine rules, but added that's under discussion.

    Beginning next week, all international passenger flights, including from the US, will land at the Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal airports.

    Lastly, PM Trudeau said that, in the coming weeks, Canada will begin requiring non-essential travellers to show a negative test before entry at the land border with the US.

     

    More details regarding the implementation of this announcement will be released soon.