Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a host of new restrictions in the wake of surging cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province.
B.C.'s top doctor stated that all British Columbians are ordered to stop any non-essential travel outside of their respective health regions until Dec. 7. Several other indoor activities will be put on hold, as well as all community-based gatherings.
Today, Henry clarified what events and gatherings must be postponed under the new order during the daily COVID-19 news briefing. She underscored that all events are postponed, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor. That said, these events aren't cancelled, but "on pause."
She added that many of the province's beloved Christmas and holiday events will be postponed, too.
"If we are able to get into a place of control, then some of these lower-risk events may happen again," said Henry. "But right now, we need to stop all of those opportunities for us to congregate, to go out and do things socially."
Movie theatres have also been suspended, as well as events at bars and restaurants. However, bars and restaurants will remain open because they offer important ways to ensure that people get meals, explained Henry.
Art galleries are permitted to have people browsing their collections on a daily basis as long as they have strict COVID-19 safety plans in place. But exhibition openings, larger gatherings and events at galleries must also be postponed.
What is considered an event?
In the updated public health order, "event” refers to anything which gathers people together whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis. All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order are temporarily suspended.
The following events are not permitted under the new health order:
- a gathering in vacation accommodation
- a private residence
- banquet hall or another place
- a party
- worship service
- ceremony or celebration of any type
- celebration of life
- musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance
- live band performance, disc jockey performance
- strip dancing
- comedic act
- art show
- magic show
- puppet show
- fashion show
- book signing
- educational presentation (except in a school or post-secondary educational institution)
- fundraising benefit
- sporting or other physical activity
- market or fair, including a trade fair, agricultural fair, seasonal fair or episodic indoor event that has as its primary purpose the sale of merchandise or services e.g. Christmas craft markets, home shows, antique fairs and the like and for certainty includes a gathering preceding or following another event.
Social gatherings and events
No social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or core bubble. For example:
- Do not invite friends or extended family to your household
- Do not host gathering outdoors
- Do not gather in your backyard
- Do not have playdates for children
All events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) are suspended. For example:
- Musical or theatre performances
- Seasonal activities
- Silent auctions
The order is in effect from Nov. 19 at midnight to Dec. 7 at midnight.
Earlier today, Henry announced a staggering 1,933 new cases of COVID-19 in the province over three days, as well as 17 fatalities.