With the Omicron variant now accounting for the recent rise in COVID-19 numbers (with British Columbia seeing its highest case count ever at 1,528 new cases announced Wednesday – those numbers expected to go even higher in the days to come), the Provincial government, on Tuesday, announced several new restrictions that went into effect at midnight which will be in place until at least January 18th in effort to help curb the spread of the virus. These latest measures announced include the cancellation of all indoor events regardless of size – as well as the closure of gyms, dance studios, night clubs, and capacity reduction in places like restaurants and movie theatres. Naturally, with the announcement of these latest restrictions also come lots of questions from the public.
“Am I still allowed to travel?”
As it’s the Holiday season, many British Columbians likely had plans to travel domestically or abroad – and while there was no travel ban announced as part of these latest health measures, Provincial health officials are recommending avoiding all non-essential travel; with the Federal government also announcing a new travel advisory, recommending that Canadians avoid non-essential travel out of the country due to the risk of the Omicron variant. If you do plan to travel right now, it’s important to be aware of any recommendations or advisories for your destination. For travel within BC, you should also be prepared to follow procedures and precautionary measures on public transportation such as BC Ferries, TransLink and BC Transit.
“What types of events are cancelled during the holidays?”
All organized events that include gatherings (of any size) will not be allowed to take place while these public health orders are currently in effect. This includes all Christmas and New Year’s parties, any parties that are sponsored or ticketed, as well as receptions (such as wedding or funeral receptions.)
“If I can’t go to an organized holiday party, can I still host one at my home?”
It is recommended that you currently keep your bubble as small as possible. That being said, if you plan on hosting people, you are limited to your household plus an additional 10 visitors or 1 other household. Everyone whom you do invite you to home also must be fully vaccinated. This order applies to both your permanent residence or any vacation accommodation that you may be staying at.
“What venues are included in the 50% capacity limit?”
Regardless of size, all venues will need to reduce their capacity to 50%. For example, if a venue has a capacity of 10,000, then it must be reduced to 5,000. This includes all sporting events, concerts, and movie theatres. If you are going to attend one of these venues, you must be fully vaccinated, and the venue must scan proof of vaccination QR codes for entry. Everyone who attends one of the venues while under this order also must wear a mask (unless eating or drinking.) If you’re attending a concert, theatre, dance, sympathy or sporting event, all spectators must remain seated.