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Posted: December 30, 2020

PHO order limits hours for alcohol sales on NY eve

B.C.’s COVID-19 response and latest updates for Dec. 30

B.C. Minister of Health Adrian Dix.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, today (Dec. 30) issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia.

Today, we are reporting 485 new cases of COVID-19, including five epi-linked cases, for a total of 51,300 cases in British Columbia.

There are 7,551 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. There are 379 individuals currently hospitalized with COVID-19, 77 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

Currently, 9,320 people are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases and a further 41,681 people who tested positive have recovered.

Since we last reported, we have had 117 new cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 211 new cases in the Fraser Health region, 16 in the Island Health region, 57 in the Interior Health region, 84 in the Northern Health region and no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada.

Since the start of immunizations, 14,027 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine in British Columbia. We announced yesterday that the Moderna vaccine will be arriving in British Columbia this week. The first doses are targeted for remote and isolated First Nations communities and residents of long term-care, and will be expanding to other communities soon.

There have been 11 new COVID-19 related deaths, for a total of 893 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have had two new health-care facility outbreaks at Langley Memorial Hospital Cedar Hill and Surrey Memorial Hospital.

We want 2021 to be our year of success with COVID-19. This means taking a step back and keeping our focus on what is most important right now: the health and safety of everyone in our province.

Especially in light of the U.K. variant now appearing in B.C., we must do all we can to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

To best position us as we go into 2021, an amendment to provincial health officer (PHO) orders has been put in place to reduce the hours that alcohol may be sold or served on New Year’s Eve. The selling and serving of alcohol must cease between 8 p.m. (Pacific time) on Dec. 31, 2020, and 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021. As before, liquor sales for onsite consumption must cease at 10 p.m. on all other dates.

This order applies to any establishment that sells or serves alcohol, including bars, restaurants, pubs, liquor stores or grocery stores.

Unless a full meal service is provided, premises that are licensed to serve liquor must close between 9 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020, and 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021.

We know alcohol can impair people’s judgment and their ability to effectively use the layers of protection required to keep all of us safe. This order, while temporary, will ensure New Year’s Eve leads to a safe new year for everyone.

We recognize this order creates an added strain on our already challenged restaurant and food services sector that has been working hard to ensure restaurants are safe. However, this is the time to do all we can to keep our wall strong. We remain confident that having a meal with your household contacts in a restaurant in B.C. is safe, and we encourage people to continue to visit their local restaurants to eat in or take away on New Year’s Eve.

In addition to this order, the industrial workplace order announced last week has been posted on the PHO website.

This is our last chance to make a difference this year. We recognize the sacrifices you have all made and we thank you for continuing to do your part.

Lead image: Dr. Bonnie Henry. BC Government photo

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