B.C. banned social gatherings due to new COVID cases

New Health Orders

British Columbia’s top doctor has unveiled the province’s first region-specific provincial health officer order as the province sees an increase in COVID-19 numbers.

Cases of COVID are rising in the Lower Mainland as well as hospitalizations so it is no surprise that on Saturday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had to unveil provincial health officer orders.

They went into effect at 10 p.m. this past Saturday, and will remain in place for two weeks, until midnight on Nov. 23. The orders are needed to ensure essential services, businesses and schools can remain open, she added and not doing so will have serious consequences for all of us.

“We need to take urgent and focused action now to significantly bring down the rate of transmission across our two Metro Vancouver health authorities,” Health Minister Adrian Dix added.

This new order restricts residents are from visiting each others’ private homes for two weeks, and it applies to social gatherings of “any size” with people other than one’s immediate household, regardless of whether it is fewer than 50 people or physical distancing is observed.

You can still get married or attend a funeral is permitted, but only with members of your household and without receptions.

Individual fitness gym activities are unaffected but Indoor sports, where physical distancing cannot be maintained, are suspended and so are indoor group physical activities such as spin classes and yoga.

Businesses that are unable to stick to their COVID-19 safety plans will be shut down and workplaces will also be required to conduct active, in-person screening for COVID-19.

Restaurants are unaffected by the new order, so long as they are closely following preexisting public health orders, also, religious centres are not considered “social gatherings” thus they remain unaffected as long as they maintain the 50 person limit.

“Schools are one of the things we want to protect because we know important it is for teachers, for students, for families to have schools operating,” Henry said; thus, the order does not affect daycares or schools.

Surging cases

The order came as Henry announced another 567 new cases of the virus. The second-highest the province has ever recorded in a single day, with all of the new cases coming from the Fraser Health region (411) and the Vancouver Coastal Health region (122).

“The virus does not follow geographical boundaries,” he said, noting that active cases in the Interior Health region, while lower than in the Lower Mainland, were at an all-time high.

“What is required now is to remember the provincial health orders, to follow the guidance and follow the orders,” he said.



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