New coronavirus restrictions in effect until early December
By Jessica Berget, Assistant Editor
However, medical and support group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous are still free to operate as long as it’s under 50 people.
On November 19, Bonnie Henry announced new rules and regulations in order to curb the current increase of reported COVID-19 cases in BC. These restrictions will be in place until December 7.
Masks are now considered mandatory in all public indoor settings including retail stores, community centres, business buildings, restaurants, work-related spaces, and anywhere else physical distancing is not possible such as elevators. Henry has not made them mandatory in schools because she states: “Schools are not public spaces where we’re with a variety of different people we don’t know on a repeated basis,” she said in a press conference on November 23. “What schools have are individual COVID safety plans that meet certain criteria, so you’re with the same people everyday, you don’t have people walking in and out […] There are COVID safety plans that do include wearing masks in the schools.”
All social gatherings of any size are also banned, which means no inviting friends or family over, no backyard barbeques, and no playdates for children. This excludes anyone outside of your household or “core bubble”—which can include a maximum of two people. People who live on their own are allowed to make their own core bubble of two people to maintain their social interactions.
All community gatherings and events, which include movie screenings, galas, performances, religious gatherings, conferences, or meetings are also banned. However, medical and support group meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous are still free to operate as long as it’s under 50 people. Important gatherings like weddings, funerals, and baptisms have a limit of maximum 10 people only. Some indoor fitness centres such as hot yoga, spin classes, and high intensity training have also been ordered to shut down because those activities are regarded as more high risk. Other indoor fitness centres are suspended until new regulations are developed.
Places that are considered “essential services” such as grocery stores, liquor stores, hair salons, and spas remain open with mandatory mask guidelines. Henry also advises against any non-essential travel including vacations or visiting family and friends.
and bars are also permitted to stay open as Henry says there have been little
transmissions in those industries. People of BC are still encouraged to dine
with their core bubble or immediate households. WorkSafe BC says they will also
be conducting inspections of restaurant and bar spaces to ensure regulations
are being followed effectively.
According to the BC government, under the Emergency
Program Act (EPA), those who are caught not complying with certain COVID
regulations can be issued fines ranging from $200 to $2000. For example, people
not wearing a mask indoors (unless exempt) could be subject to a $230 violation
ticket. People can also be fined for hosting an event with more than 50 people
and not taking contacts of all participants for contact tracing ($2,000), encouraging
people to attend a gathering that does not comply with mass gatherings order
($200), operating a party bus or limousine ($2,000), being an owner, organizer,
or operator of a restaurant or bar whose music volumes exceeds the volume or
normal conversation ($2,000), or if you do not vacate the restaurant or bar
premises by the stated time of 11 pm ($200).