People wearing protective face masks play an air hockey game at Central City Fun Park on their opening weekend, in Surrey, B.C., on Sunday, June 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

People wearing protective face masks play an air hockey game at Central City Fun Park on their opening weekend, in Surrey, B.C., on Sunday, June 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

6 things you need to know about B.C.’s latest COVID-19 health orders

Mandatory masks, bans on social gatherings and more to take effect overnight Friday

B.C. officials have rolled out a number of new orders in their latest attempt to curb the rising number of new COVID-19 cases as the province tides the waters of the pandemic’s second wave.

“As we approach the darkest days of this year, we know there is light at the end of the tunnel,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters Thursday (Nov. 19).

She urged British Columbians to follow the rules ahead of the holidays but didn’t rule out that the latest orders could be extended beyond their current Dec. 7 deadline if daily case counts don’t decrease enough.

READ MORE: 538 new infections, 1 death recorded as B.C. struggles with 50+ COVID outbreaks

Here’s a look at the biggest changes, which took effect at midnight Thursday.

1. Mandatory mask mandate

Masks are now required in public indoor and retail spaces. Henry asked the Public Safety Ministry to implement the order under the ongoing state of emergency to make face coverings mandatory. The mandate would exclude those who cannot wear masks due to a medical issue or disability, as well as children under the age of two.

The mask policy is not in effect in B.C. schools.

2. No events or social gatherings with anyone outside of your household

All indoor and outdoor community and social events have been suspended for the next two weeks. This includes events that include fewer than 50 people – the previous threshold for social gatherings – with the only exceptions being funerals, weddings and baptisms so long as fewer than 10 people attend without a reception.

The order already in place in Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions on social gatherings has also been expanded B.C.-wide. Moving forward British Columbians should restrict their socializing to immediate household members. Those who live alone are being encouraged to stick to one or two close friends at most.

3. Non-essential travel not recommended

If British Columbians don’t have to travel for essential reasons, they are being asked to stay within their community.

“If you live in Penticton, you can go to Summerland. If you live in Victoria, though, and you want to go to Tofino, then not such a good idea right now,” Henry explained. “If you want to go to a store in another community, then plan ahead and go as infrequently as possible.”

Those who are travelling to B.C. from other provinces are also being asked to keep their contact to immediate household members only.

4. Some gym classes suspended until further notice

Some gym classes have been suspended until further notice. While a similar order has been in place in the Fraser Health region for a week, the new order impacts the entire province, specifically for high-intensity interval training, hot yoga and spin classes.

Meanwhile, WorkSafeBC will be increasing its inspections of gyms and other businesses to ensure adequate health protocols are being followed.

5. No spectators allowed at sports games, no travel outside your community

Whether indoors or outdoors, spectators will have to stay home when it comes to recreational sports. Travel outside of an athlete’s community to another in order to play a sport is also prohibited for two weeks.

“If you are in doubt, postpone it to a time when we have better management of the transmissions that we’re seeing in our communities right now,” Henry said.

“You can play the games within your own region only, and there’s no travel between different areas. That is where we’re seeing the risk. The risk is people car-pooling together, having to stay overnight.”

The order is not applicable for high-performance athletes if they have been training prior to Thursday.

6. Faith services suspended

All in-person faith services will be put on hold until Dec. 7. This doesn’t mean that people cannot visit churches or temples, Henry said, so long as health safety protocols are in place.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sgt. Darryl Peppler said Mounties are continuing their investigation after Tuesday’s raid. File photo
Grand Forks RCMP arrest suspected drug traffickers at city motel

Police say they netted “a sizable amount” of money and suspected drugs following Tuesday’s arrests.

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Police investigating burglary ‘ring’ with ties to Greenwood and Okanagan

Midway RCMP are looking at “persons of interest” in two Greenwood heists

The 29-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving at Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Nov. 17. File photo
Grand Forks man gets 3-months curfew for role in Highway 3 chase

Guilty man thanked Judge Robert Brown, said he is committed to recovering from addiction

Two men got into a fight over a Grand Forks’ flower display last summer. One of the men resolved an assault charge by entering into a peace bond at Provincial Court Tuesday, Nov. 17. File photo
Grand Forks man takes peace bond after flower fisticuffs

Harsh words over a downtown flower display led to violent confrontation, said Crown attorney

A man wears a mask while walking down Canyon Street in Creston on Nov. 13. Photo: Aaron Hemens
Creston resident living with COVID-19 reflects on experience

Contracting and living with the virus, she said, has led to a “major reset” in her life

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Most Read