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Province adds more restrictions to strengthen COVID-19 measures for safer holiday season

Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday during a media briefing the revised provincial health officer orders will take effect on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

The provincial health officer is implementing additional measures to address rising COVID-19 case counts that could result in increased hospitalizations and critical care admissions and the potential to overstress the health-care system.

Revised provincial health officer orders will take effect on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.

The restrictions will extend to Jan. 18, 2022, at 11:59 p.m., and include:

  • no organized indoor social events and gatherings of any size;
  • concerts, sports games and theatres reduced to 50% seated capacity, regardless of venue size;
  • closing gyms, fitness centres and dance studios;
  • closing bars and nightclubs; and
  • limiting table sizes at restaurants, cafes and pubs to a maximum of six people per table with physical distancing or barriers.

These restrictions are in addition to the revised orders that took effect on Monday, Dec. 20. 

The Ministry of Health is postponing non-urgent scheduled surgeries starting Jan. 4, 2022, to manage pressure on acute care facilities. Urgent and emergency surgeries will continue, and rescheduling will be determined through continuous monitoring of capacity and COVID-19 impacts throughout January and on a regional basis.

“COVID-19 cases continue to increase at a concerning rate, and we must take stronger measures to help protect British Columbians and ensure our health-care system is there when people need it,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “It’s a critical time in our fight against COVID-19. Now is the time for us to act, and to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our loved ones safe.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, said: “I know everyone is looking forward to being around their family and friends this holiday season after two challenging years. These restrictions balance the need for people to come together with the people they love with the need to collectively act to slow the spread of COVID-19. We know how to get through this – by following the same measures we’ve followed in the past to protect each other.”

In addition to the provincial health officer’s orders, British Columbians are advised to get fully vaccinated if they have not already done so, to get their booster shot as soon as one is offered, to stay home if they are sick, to avoid all travel if not fully vaccinated and to follow the travel advisory issued by the federal government to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada.

The updated orders will be enacted under the Public Health Act.

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