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NEW Province-wide Restrictions & Indoor Mask Requirement

Updated

On Thursday November 19, 2020, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) instructed all individuals, places of work and businesses in BC to significantly reduce their level of social interactions and travel. The order is in effect from November 19, 2020 at midnight to December 7, 2020 at midnight.

Masks are now required for everyone in all public indoor settings and workplaces. People who cannot put on or remove a mask on their own are exempt. Employers are expected to enforce the mandatory mask policy with both employees and customers, and a customer can be refused entry or service if they do not wear a mask

The new restrictions are as follows:

  • No social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your household or core bubble. This means no in-home or outdoor gatherings and playdates.
  • All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) are suspended. 
  • Funerals, weddings and baptisms may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 10 people attend, including the officiant.
  • Party-buses and group limousines can not operate in any region.
  • In-person religious gatherings and worship services are suspended under the order.
  • Employers must make every effort to provide work from home options.  
  • At this time, all non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of BC and between regions of the province.
  • Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high risk indoor group physical activities must suspend the following activities: spin classes, hot yoga and high intensity interval training (HIIT).

The order does not impact restaurants and bars. Restaurants and bars can continue to operate as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place. You should only visit a restaurant with people in your household or core bubble. A maximum of six people are allowed at a table. 

Under the Government’s Emergency Program Act, some orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don't follow these orders could be fined.

For more information, see the full province-wide restrictions HERE.

 

COVID-19 Updates

  • B.C.’s Restart Plan Launched; British Columbians 12+ Can Register for the COVID-19 Vaccine

    Date:
    May 27, 2021

    On May 25, 2021, the B.C. Government launched the B.C. Restart Plan. There are four phases to the plan, and phase one began on May 25, 2021. The goal is to gradually begin to restart important social connections, businesses and activities and safely return to normal.

    For the full plan, see the B.C. Restart plan HERE.


    Additionally, all British Columbians 12+ (born 2009 or earlier) can register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To register, see How to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19.

  • Pregnant people aged 16+ are now a priority population to get their vaccine (as of May 4, 2021)

    Date:
    May 4, 2021

    If you are pregnant, you can get vaccinated quickly following these two steps: 

    1. Register, if you haven’t already, at http://gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated

     2. Then phone 1-833-838-2323 to book — tell them you are pregnant.

  • Travel restrictions: Here are B.C.'s new rules limiting movement to help curb the spread of COVID-19

    Date:
    April 23, 2021

    “New measures are now in place to limit travel in B.C. for the next several weeks in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    Solicitor General Mike Farnworth outlined the latest restrictions Friday morning, explaining they'll be in place through the May long weekend and expire on May 25.”

  • 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.