Province strengthens COVID-19 measures for safer holiday season
The provincial health officer is implementing additional measures to address rising COVID-19 case counts that could result in increased hospitalizations and critical care admissions and the potential to overstress the health-care system.
Revised provincial health officer orders will take effect on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. The restrictions will extend to Jan. 18, 2022, at 11:59 p.m., and include:
no organized indoor social events and gatherings of any size;
concerts, sports games and theatres reduced to 50% seated capacity, regardless of venue size;
closing gyms, fitness centres and dance studios;
closing bars and nightclubs; and
limiting table sizes at restaurants, cafes and pubs to a maximum of six people per table with physical distancing or barriers.
These restrictions are in addition to the revised orders that took effect on Monday, Dec. 20.
The Ministry of Health is postponing non-urgent scheduled surgeries starting Jan. 4, 2022, to manage pressure on acute care facilities. Urgent and emergency surgeries will continue, and rescheduling will be determined through continuous monitoring of capacity and COVID-19 impacts throughout January and on a regional basis.
“COVID-19 cases continue to increase at a concerning rate, and we must take stronger measures to help protect British Columbians and ensure our health-care system is there when people need it,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “It’s a critical time in our fight against COVID-19. Now is the time for us to act, and to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our loved ones safe.”
Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said: “I know everyone is looking forward to being around their family and friends this holiday season after two challenging years. These restrictions balance the need for people to come together with the people they love with the need to collectively act to slow the spread of COVID-19. We know how to get through this – by following the same measures we’ve followed in the past to protect each other.”
In addition to the provincial health officer’s orders, British Columbians are advised to get fully vaccinated if they have not already done so, to get their booster shot as soon as one is offered, to stay home if they are sick, to avoid all travel if not fully vaccinated and to follow the travel advisory issued by the federal government to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada.
The updated orders will be enacted under the Public Health Act.
For the Dec. 21, 2021, PowerPoint presentation on COVID-19 updated measures, boosters and rapid antigen testing in B.C., visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/CovidMeasures.pdf
Revised provincial health officer’s orders that took effect on Monday, Dec. 20.: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions#dec-20
For the provincial health officer’s orders and guidance, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus
For regional restrictions by health authority, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions
Latest modelling: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/12.14.21_PHO_modelling.pdf
To register to be vaccinated, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/register
For information on booster doses: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/booster
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/children
To learn about the BC Vaccine Card and how to access yours, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard.html
Detailed data is posted daily on the BC Centre for Disease Control dashboard: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data
The latest updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and to find a testing centre near you: http://www.bccdc.ca/ Or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter.
For COVID-19 exposure events, updates and information, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/public-exposures