BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced that the province is taking further actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and is stepping back from restart activities.
The new orders are being placed on communities in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions, with the exemptions of Hope, Central Coast Regional District, Bella Coola Valley, Sunshine Coast Regional District, Powell River, and the Howe Sound.
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The orders go into effect at 10:00 pm on November 7 and will last until November 23 at 12 pm.
The limits will affect social gatherings, travel, indoor group physical activates, and workplace safety.
No social gatherings of any size will be allowed with anyone other than your immediate household, Henry announced. This includes indoor gatherings of fewer than 50 people. Funerals and weddings will be allowed to proceed only with your immediate household, and receptions will not be allowed.
“This is what we need to do now,” Henry said. “We need to stop our social connections where we are unfortunately seeing this virus spread to those we are closest to and that we care most about.”
Travel into and out of areas in VCH and Fraser Health should be essential only, said Henry, and businesses such as group indoor activities must close for the two week period. This includes any activities where people are increasing their heart rate, including spin classes and yoga classes.
Businesses and worksites in the affected areas will be required to revisit and ensure strict adherence to COVID-19 safety plans. They must practice active, in-person virus screening of all on-site workers, Henry said. Businesses that do not follow health guidelines will be shut down.
Party buses, limousines, and other “perimeter seating” vehicles must stop operating until further notice, effective immediately.
Calling the provincial health orders a “last resort,” Henry acknowledged that the next two weeks would be hard, but reminded British Columbians that they have flattened the curve before.
In addition to the new measures, Henry also announced 567 new COVID-19 cases in the province. On Friday, the province saw a record-breaking 589 cases. To date, BC has seen 17,716 cases of the virus.
“Now is the time that we need to do this. Despite being tired, despite the uncertainty, despite what has been happening for the last few months,” she said.
“This is the road we must walk. And right now, we must walk it together.”