People wait to enter a Nike store on its first weekend open after a lengthy closure due to COVID-19, in Vancouver, on Sunday, May 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. sees 2 deaths, 16 new COVID-19 cases over May long weekend on eve of phase two

Many retail stores have opened up, as have provincial parks

Two more people have died as a result of COVID-19 in B.C. over the May long weekend, even as daily new cases stayed low.

B.C. recorded 16 cases between Saturday and Monday, with eight cases per day. The total case count now stands at 2,444, with 335 currently active. There are 47 people in hospital, with 12 in ICU. The province has recorded a total of 143 deaths, including this weekend’s.

Speaking on Victoria Day (May 18), Dr. Bonnie Henry acknowledged the last two months have been difficult for British Columbians who have been isolation and physically distancing.

She said that as B.C. opens up this week, many people will feel both anxiety and anticipation.

“We need to continue to show that patience and compassion,” Henry said.

“With the easing of restrictions… the potential for a flare up does go up.”

She said public health officials will be watching carefully as locations and gyms open up in B.C. this week. Provincial parks opened on Thursday last week while dine-in restaurants can begin to open up on Tuesday with a number of rules as B.C. heads into phase two. Sit-down establishments will have to reduce to 50 per cent capacity, keep tables at six people or less and keep two metres between tables.

“We are sort of trying to figure this out… this seemed like a reasonable approach,” Henry said of the restaurant rules.

“We will be looking at it again as we move through this phase.”

Henry reiterated her stance on non-medical masks, saying that British Columbians could opt to wear them at times when physical distancing isn’t possible.

“Only you know your own risks.. and the precautions you need to take,” she said. Henry urged those with elderly or immunocompromised loved ones in their lives to take extra care when deciding to open up their circles in the coming weeks.

Henry said the onus is on each person to stay home when sick and not expose others.

“For this week, take it slow.”

READ MORE: B.C. restaurants can host dine-in guests Tuesday, but what will that look like?

READ MORE: Canadians’ worries shift from healthcare to social isolation as time goes on


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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