More restrictions are being imposed on BC, to act as what the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry calls a “circuit breaker” in the race against the COVID-19 virus. These restrictions are being implemented because currently, BC is seeing more new cases than at the peak of the second wave. While many of BC’s elders have been protected by immunizations and COVID-protocols, hospitals are now seeing more young adults in their 20’s up to age 39 than ever, with more severe symptoms than previously seen.

While the immunization plan is moving along, at this point the virus seems to be winning.

New and amended orders and guidelines are in effect through April 19, 2021, and include:

  • For restaurants, bars and pubs, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide take-out or delivery service. Dine-in service is prohibited, except for outdoor patios. People dining on patios should do so with their immediate household or core bubble.
  • Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind are also paused. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only i.e. one-on-one personal training.
  • The previously announced class variance for limited indoor worship services has been suspended. Outdoor worship services under the current variance may continue.
  • Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work or medical reasons only. For those who have travelled outside their health region, if you or anyone in your family develops any signs of illness, you must stay home from work, school or daycare, and arrange to get tested immediately.
  • Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort is closed through to April 19, 2021, to address and prevent community spread related to non-essential travel.
  • All workers are strongly encouraged to work from home, where possible.
  • Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.

“This adds another layer of challenges to our local small restaurants and fitness centres who are already operating on a very thin margin as a result of the year-long pandemic,” observed Karen Mason, President of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce. “It will also deliver a blow to the employees who are finding out today that tomorrow’s shift has been canceled, for the next three weeks.”

Patio service and delivery can continue, but there will be no dining in. Indoor fitness classes for adults have to be put on pause, though outdoor classes can can continue.

When asked, BC Premier John Horgan noted that provincial supports were “being worked on,” though nothing specific could be announced at this time.

Read the provincial government’s announcement here.