British Columbia eases COVID capacity restrictions
Some, but not all, COVID-19 restrictions in British Columbia will be eased from midnight Thursday, allowing bars and nightclubs to reopen and other businesses to operate without capacity restrictions.
However, masks will still need to be worn inside public spaces and vaccine passports will still be required for some time, along with COVID-19 safety plans.
Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry announced today that restrictions are fully lifted for indoor private gatherings. Indoor and outdoor public gatherings will also be permitted at full capacity, subject to the use of masks and vaccination cards.
Many restrictions were put in place in December in response to the Omicron variant but, with hospitalization and intensive care rates trending down, Henry said gradual steps can be taken to ease the restrictions.
Restaurants, fitness centers and swimming pools will be allowed to operate at full capacity, with dating and dancing allowed, and there will be no more restrictions on adult sports tournaments.
Henry said today’s announcements are part of the province’s long-term COVID management strategy and that we need to be prepared for ongoing waves and new variations.
“These changes take effect after careful consideration of where we are in this pandemic, and credit goes to all British Columbians for their action to protect themselves, their families and their communities,” Henry said.
“We will continue to rely on what is happening in British Columbia, science and evidence to guide our next steps on this journey to protect people from COVID-19 while safely easing restrictions.”
Remaining restrictions will be reviewed again on March 15 and April 12, including vaccination cards, masks in indoor public spaces, safety plans, visits to long-term care facilities, guidelines for churches , K-12 schools and daycares.
More than 800 people remain hospitalized in British Columbia with COVID.