A month away from Christmas—a holiday celebrated by bringing people together—new restrictions have been rolled out across the province to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced that they will be extending the COVID-19 restrictions that were first placed over the lower mainland to the entire province.
“The coming weeks will be the most difficult in our pandemic, but hope is on the horizon. We can protect the ones we love and keep our hospitals, schools, and workplaces open if we remain focused on reducing our in-person interactions for now,” Henry said in a press conference on Thursday.
British Columbians must now wear masks in all indoor public places, including businesses and restaurants, as Henry announced that BC has entered into a second wave.
Henry said that she has asked Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to implement a requirement for workers and members of the public to wear masks indoors, except when someone is sitting at their desk, eating, or drinking.
Along with mandatory mask-wearing, Henry has extended an earlier order limiting social gatherings in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions until December 7 to the whole province.
This means that anyone in any location across BC should not have social gatherings with anyone outside of their household for any reason.
Some of the other measures that were announced include that:
- All in-person faith services have been suspended
- No spectators are allowed at any indoor or outdoor sport
- Travelling outside the local community has been restricted for all sports
- Funerals, weddings, and baptisms are permitted as long as they have no more than ten people involved
- High-risk group fitness activities such as spin classes and hot yoga have been suspended
These regulations followed Henry’s announcement of 538 new COVID-19 cases and one additional death within the past 24 hours of the Thursday press conference. As of Thursday, the total number of confirmed cases in BC equalled 24,960 cases and 321 deaths.
“As we approach the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year, we should remind each other that it is also the day that we begin to turn back toward the light. By pulling together now we can overcome the challenges before us,” Henry said.