Province loosening some restrictions for vaccinated only
Life will be returning to a semblance of normal, for those vaccinated, starting Thursday, Feb. 17.
With the caveat of still requiring a vaccine passport and to be masked indoors, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer today announced the lifting of several COVID-19 pandemic fighting restrictions.
Dr. Bonnie Henry said restrictions on personal gatherings, organized gatherings and events, nightclubs, bars and restaurants, exercise and fitness, and adult sports tournaments will be lifted as of Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time).
Capacity limits will return to normal but the BC Vaccine Card, indoor masking requirements and COVID-19 safety plans must stay in place until the next review of restrictions, expected in mid-March.
Dr. Henry said the province has been able to get to this point due to the efforts of citizenry to become widely vaccinated.
“These changes are taking effect after careful review of where we are in this pandemic, and the credit goes to all British Columbians for their action to protect themselves, their families and their communities,” she said. “We will continue to rely on what is happening in B.C., science and evidence to guide our next steps in this journey to protect people from COVID-19 while safely easing restrictions.”
The decision to ease restrictions is based on a careful review of data by the provincial health officer and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
With more than 90% of eligible B.C. residents vaccinated with their second dose, British Columbia will transition to a sustainable COVID-19 management plan focusing on vaccination, self-monitoring and specific actions to protect those most at risk, she said.
“We are at an exciting and positive milestone. B.C. is one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions in the world.”
“The last two years have challenged us like never before. But British Columbians have shown we can overcome anything if we work together,” said Premier John Horgan. “By following the science and looking out for each other, we are now in a position to carefully ease many COVID-19 restrictions. Our balanced, common-sense approach is based on the best advice from Dr. Henry – it will allow us to get back to many of the things we love and businesses to operate safely.”
Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, said: “Every moment of every day in our experience with COVID-19, British Columbians have made the difference that matters. Because of the difference we’ve all made and continue to make – getting vaccinated, following public-health measures and treating one another with respect, B.C. is proceeding with this balanced approach in easing restrictions.”
Based on hospitalization and critical care rates over the coming days and weeks, the provincial health officer will review the remaining protective measures by March 15, and again by April 12, she said.
e-KNOW file photo