B.C.’s ban on private gatherings in the Lower Mainland has been extended province-wide and will continue for another two weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.
Social, recreational, sports and vacation trips are off across the province, and indoor exercise classes such as spin, interval training and hot yoga are also suspended everywhere in B.C.
Another public health order shuts down in-person religious services until at least Dec. 7, after they have been allowed to operate under the 50-person limit in recent months. Exceptions are allowed for weddings, funerals or baptisms with a maximum of 10 people present, and no receptions afterward. Daycares, addiction support meetings and other activities in church, gurdwara or temple buildings are allowed to continue, as are social service visits to homes by religious organizations.
The two-week duration of the province-wide order is to slow a rapid growth in coronavirus infections that has gone past 700 a day this week. “We may need to extend that,” Henry said Nov. 19. “That’s one incubation period.”
Henry said the intent of the province-wide private residence restriction is to only socialize with those in your immediate household for the next two weeks.
“It is OK to go for a walk outside with a friend,” she said. “It’s OK to make sure that your grandparents pick up the kids at school, or that you’re able to fix the furnace in your mother’s house. Those are not social gatherings and social events.”
Spectators at indoor or outdoor sporting events are also banned until the end of December, and all travel outside communities associated with sports is suspended. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said the orders are designed to target areas of rapid virus spread, and businesses such as gyms and pubs will see stepped up inspections to check on their safety measures.
Patrons at restaurants and pubs are expected to wear masks when they are away from their tables, such as to go to washrooms. Henry said pubs and bars are a particular concern, after alcohol sales were restricted to 10 p.m.
“If you are thinking of skiing, go to a local mountain,” Henry said.