"We are not yet through this storm. And we cannot let up now."
Health officials announced today that the province-wide COVID-19 restrictions will be extended until Jan. 8, 2021. However, one exception is for drive-in and drop-off events, where people do not get out of their cars. In these cases, a maximum of 50 cars is permitted.
The restrictions on group fitness, adult team sports, and all events and social gatherings are now extended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry made the announcement this afternoon during the daily COVID-19 press briefing.
The order is in effect from November 19, 2020 at midnight to January 8, 2021 at midnight.
"I'm extending my public gatherings and events order of December 4, with respect to the controls and restrictions on people visiting other people in the residence," said Henry. "to midnight of January, 8 2021, as well.
"Of course, we will continue the allowances that we have in place for people who are living alone, to have one or two other visitors. I am also extending my public order of December 4 with respect to prohibiting all gatherings and events, as defined in the order to midnight of January, 8 2021. This means that all those events that we have been talking about for the past few weeks, continue to be prohibited with the exceptions, as they are listed in the order."
B.C. infection rate continues to climb
Last week, Henry noted that transmissions weren't going down as health officials had hoped. She said that extending restrictions isn't a decision that she makes lightly or alone.
The infection rate last week swung from a low of 606 to a high of 827 cases, while the death toll during the same period did not dip below 11 per day.
The health officer even updated restrictions late last week, suspending all indoor and outdoor sports for people 19 and over and stopping some high-intensity indoor group fitness classes like hot yoga and spin classes.
Drive-in and drop-off events
Drive-in and drop-off events may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 50 cars in attendance. People must stay in their cars. This includes:
- Religious services
- Holiday festival of lights
- Holiday hampers
- Toy drives
All drive-in and drop-off events must:
- Maintain physical distancing
- Control the entry and exit points
- Avoid congestion of cars and congregating of people
Uncontrolled drive-thru events are suspended, as cars continually moving through a venue may exceed 50 at one time.
Operators of drive-thru events can only continue to operate if they restrict the number of cars to 50 at one time. For example:
- A drive-thru Christmas light show cordons off 50 cars, who can then proceed through the event
There are now 38,152 cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in B.C. after health officials announced 2,020 new cases in Monday's briefing.
--With files from the Canadian Press.