Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Friday that health officials have once again extended the province-wide ban on social gatherings and events, citing concerns around the growing number of COVID-19 variant cases.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a media briefing Friday morning that the tough restrictions first imposed back in November will need to be continued indefinitely.
Dr. Henry said it’s important for the province to buy time to understand how these new COVID-19 variants are going to affect transmission in communities across the province.
By order of the PHO, all gathering and events are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions. The order came into effect November 19, 2020 at midnight and will be kept in place until further notice based on direction from the PHO.
Gatherings at residences or vacation accommodations
No social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or, if you live alone, your core bubble. For example:
- Do not invite friends or extended family into your residence or vacation accommodation
- Do not gather in your backyard, patio, driveway or anywhere else on your property
- Do not host playdates for children
For most people, their core bubble is their immediate household. An immediate household is a group of people who live in the same residence. For example:
- If you have a rental suite in your home, the suite is a separate residence
- If you live in an apartment or house with roommates, you are all members of the same household
For people who live alone, a core bubble is a maximum of two people you see regularly.
Activities allowed under the order
These activities are not considered a social gathering:
- Going for a walk or hike. You must make sure a walk or hike does not turn into a group of people meeting outside
- Parents carpooling kids to and from school
- Grandparents providing child care
- Public pools and public skating rinks, when not associated with an event, are allowed to continue to operate with a COVID-19 Safety Plan
Indoor high intensity group exercise
Indoor high intensity group exercise is prohibited. High intensity group exercise causes a sustained and accelerated rate of breathing and may involve close contact with other people. Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high intensity group exercise must suspend the following activities:
- Hot yoga
- Spin classes
- High intensity aspects of circuit training
- High intensity interval training (HIIT)
Indoor low intensity group exercise
Indoor low intensity group exercise is allowed. Low intensity group exercise does not cause a sustained and accelerated rate of breathing and does not involve close contact with other people. These include:
- Yoga (Hatha)
- Low intensity exercise machines and cardio equipment
- Light weightlifting
- Low intensity Barre classes
Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate low intensity group fitness activities must follow the restrictions in the order, including a COVID-19 Safety Plan developed following public health guidelines.
Gyms and recreation facilities
Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that is strictly followed.
The order places restrictions on adult and youth indoor and outdoor team sports.