BC has extended its province-wide COVID-19 ban on gatherings and events.
The extension was announced on Friday morning by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry during a press conference.
The orders, which include a ban on indoor and outdoor private gatherings, community events, travel, and variants of adult sports, first came into effect on November 19, 2020, and were previously scheduled to end at midnight tonight.
This is the third time the ban has been extended since it came into effect.
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Social gatherings of any size aren’t allowed with anyone other than one’s immediate household. This includes indoor gatherings of fewer than 50 people. Funerals and weddings are allowed to proceed only with your immediate household, and receptions will not be allowed.
In making the announcement, Henry noted that individual and collective efforts by British Columbians. “The number of new infections with each new case – the reproductive number – is now down below one, and that’s where we need to keep it.”
And while the curve is slowly and steadily being bent down, “we need to protect the progress we have made since the start of this year and not squander our success,” she said. “To do this, we need to use this time to buy ourselves more time to get our immunizations back on track and push our cases down further.”
As such, Henry said she is keeping the current province-wide orders in place.
In extending the orders, she also noted she plans to continually review and reconsider the need for restrictions, “based on the incidents and prevalence of this virus, the data, new information about transmission, and the progress of our vaccination supply.”
Henry did not provide a specific date as to when the orders may potentially be revisited or even lifted, a move she explained was intentional.
“We need time to understand if these positive things that we’re seeing are going to allow us to take away some of the restrictions we have in place now,” she said. “That’s why I’m leaving it open-ended, and not putting an end date on the orders that are in place now.”
However, “as long as we continue on this path, we can start planning for the return of activities at the end of this month,” she continued. “And all of us can start to resume some of those important social interactions, and look to having our safe six – our bubble – again.”