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After months of restrictions, British Columbia finally entered its restart plan in May.
Step 1 meant the return of indoor dining, recreational sports, small gatherings and more, and today, Premier John Horgan confirmed that the province would be moving to step 2 as planned on Tuesday.
"Thanks to our collective efforts and commitment to get vaccinated, we are ready to take another step forward in our careful restart," said Horgan.
"This next step means seeing more of the people we love, visiting more of our favourite places and safely celebrating the major milestones we've missed."
Horgan added that better days are in sight, but residents must continue to do their part, get vaccinated, keep layers of protection strong and work together to put the pandemic behind us.
BC is able to enter step 2 because the province has met two important pieces of criteria that were needed to advance through the restart plan:
- At least 65% of the 18+ population vaccinated with at least one dose.
- Declining case counts and hospitalizations throughout the province.
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Starting Tuesday, British Columbians will have the freedom to do certain things that they haven't been able to do in months.
That includes outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people, recreational travel around BC, buying liquor until midnight and watching sports outdoors.
Here’s a full list of changes to the restrictions:
- Outdoor personal gatherings up to 50 people (birthday parties, backyard BBQs, block parties).
- Personal indoor gatherings allowed with up to five visitors or one other household.
- Indoor seated organized gatherings up to 50 people with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
- Consultation with the sector begins for next steps on indoor and outdoor organized gatherings.
- Provincial travel restrictions lifted.
- Recreational travel within BC allowed.
- BC Transit and BC Ferries offers increased service as needed.
- Province still advising against travel into BC from other provinces at this time.
- Liquor served until midnight.
- Banquet halls can operate with limited capacity and a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
- Consultation with sector associations begins for next steps on easing restrictions.
Offices and Workplaces
- Continued return to the workplace.
- Small, in-person meetings allowed.
Sports and Exercise
- Indoor high intensity group exercise allowed with reduced capacity.
- Indoor games and practices for both adults and youth group/team sports allowed.
- No spectators at any indoor sport activities.
- Outdoor spectators up to 50 allowed.
"The data shows us that with strong safety plans in place and all of us continuing to use our layers of protection, we can now increase our much-needed social connections a little bit more," Dr. Bonnie Henry said today.
"Whether it is travelling to visit family in BC, having a small wedding or watching your child's soccer game, these are the things we have all missed."
Stage 3 is expected to start on July 1 at the earliest, as long as low case counts and declining hospitalizations continue.
Some big changes will be on the way then, including no restrictions on gatherings, Canada-wide recreational travel, casinos and nightclubs reopening and masks no longer being mandatory.
For more information on BC’s restart plan, click this link.
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