BC health officials have announced that they’re dropping several COVID-19 health orders that pertain to capacity limits for events and gatherings, effective February 16.
Bars and nightclubs have the green light to reopen with no capacity limits, and people can also dance and mingle again. Large events like Canucks games can also proceed at 100% capacity. BC health officials also announced that capacity limits have been removed from fitness centres and restaurants.
The same applies to indoor and outdoor organized gatherings and events like weddings and funerals. Indoor personal gatherings can also return to normal, meaning you’re no longer limited to one household plus 10 guests, or an additional household.
The changes come into effect at 11:59 pm on February 16.
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Masks, BC Vaccine Cards, and COVID-19 safety plans will remain in place, but BC will be conducting a formal review of the remaining restrictions on March 15 and April 12.
Previously, BC announced that the vaccine card would expire in June, but today’s announcement suggests that the province could be looking at dropping the vaccine mandate sooner, depending on the state of COVID-19.
It has been over a month since Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the Omicron variant of concern had hit its peak. When that news was revealed, Henry added that it would be a while longer before hospitalizations would peak. After a few weeks of record-breaking hospital admissions, hospitalizations have begun to slowly trickle down over the past two weeks.
Today’s update follows a general theme from BC in recent weeks. At a national premier’s meeting, BC Premier John Horgan suggested that provinces would be looking to transition away from the pandemic label and begin to treat COVID-19 as an endemic.
Henry suggested something similar at a press conference last week, and today’s announcement may be the first step in the province changing its COVID-19 strategy.
During Henry’s announcement, she suggested self-management would become one of the keys to the evolution of BC’s pandemic response.
Part of that would be to “rescind restrictive measures and promote population health.”
Instead of protecting the larger population with health orders, BC will target people who are most at risk.
For those who have been waiting patiently to bust a move, you can finally break out the dancing shoes.