Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. British Columbia’s Ministry of Health is clarifying new rules around social gatherings, one day after a new regional public health order was issued. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. British Columbia’s Ministry of Health is clarifying new rules around social gatherings, one day after a new regional public health order was issued. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. Health Ministry clarifies social gathering rules of new regional order

Under the new order, there are to be no social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your immediate household

B.C.’s Ministry of Health is clarifying new rules around social gatherings, one day after a new regional public health order was issued.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the new orders in a special media briefing Saturday amid spiking COVID-19 cases and they apply to residents of the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health regions for the next two weeks.

In a statement Sunday, the ministry says that under the new order, there are to be no social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your immediate household.

It says this includes not only gatherings in your home, but also outdoors, at restaurants or at other venues.

Restaurants can remain open but guests must stick to a table with their own household members.

Going for a walk is not considered a social gathering, but British Columbians need to be vigilant that a walk doesn’t turn into a group of people gathering outside.

“I know there has been some confusion on what immediate household means,” Ministry spokeswoman Shannon Greer says in an email.

“To give some context, these would be the people you spend the most time with and are physically close to. These would be people who are part of your regular routine, so household members, immediate family, a close friend or the people you have regular close contact with (for example a co-parent who lives outside the household).”

Those who live alone cannot host gatherings, but can continue to see members of what they would consider their immediate household at home, outside or at a restaurant, she says.

The new orders will be in effect until Nov. 23 at 3 p.m.

The Central Coast and Bella Coola valley are exempt, as Henry said Saturday they are “geographically different” and more closely linked to Interior Health. The community of Hope has also been added to the exemption list.

Non-essential travel to and from the regions in question, which span the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, is strongly discouraged, Henry said Saturday.

The order also prohibits indoor group fitness such as dance, yoga and spin classes.

Businesses and recreation centres that host those activities must remain closed until their local medical health officer approves a safety plan.

The Ministry clarified Sunday that those businesses must remain closed until that’s the case, whether or not the two-week order has expired.

Medical health officers will work hard to sign off plans as quickly as possible, it said.

“We know this is difficult, but it’s only for two weeks. As Dr. Henry has said British Columbians have flattened the curve before and they can do it again,” Greer said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Kitimat’s Water Quality Advisory, which has been in place for just over a week, has been lifted. (Black Press file photo)
Water Quality Advisory in Kitimat lifted

The district has been under a Water Quality Advisory since June 2

On June 16 at 6 p.m., the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a public presentation and discussion with Happipad, a social enterprise, to talk about solutions for affordable housing Kitimat. (Happipad photo)
Affordable housing to be focus of Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meeting

Figures indicate the average Kitimat household needs to make more than $92,000 a year

(District of Kitimat logo)
Hirsch Creek Bridge restricted to single lane traffic

The district is restricting the bridge traffic to legal highway loads only

Artist’s illustration of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility at Bish Cove near Kitimat. (Kitimat LNG illustration)
Haisla Nation surprised by Woodside pull out from Kitimat LNG project

Haisla Nation council states its main focus is now on developing the Haisla-led Cedar LNG project

(Northern Health logo)
Pop-up vaccine clinic tomorrow at the Save-on-Foods parking lot in Kitimat

The clinic will be this Friday, June 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read