New restrictions on gatherings, bars and vacation rentals in British Columbia

Amid an active COVID-19 outbreak in British Columbia’s central Okanagan region, the provincial government has now put in place more restrictive rules to prevent further spread of the virus.

“This is not where we wanted to be, of course, right now,” Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC provincial health worker, said at a press conference on Friday.

The new rules for this region include:

  • Personal outdoor gatherings limited to 50 people, including birthdays, block parties, and backyard barbecues

  • Personal gatherings indoors are limited to five people or one other household

  • Indoor, seated, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people with COVID-19 security plans in place

  • Nightclubs and bars must close

  • Restaurant seating can only be in groups of up to six people, but not limited to a single household

  • Alcohol service must stop at 10:00 p.m. local time

  • Low intensity group indoor exercise may continue with capacity limits

  • High-intensity indoor group exercises are suspended

  • Vacation rentals, accommodations, including boats and houseboats, are limited to five people plus occupants

Interior Health chief medical officer Dr Sue Pollock has confirmed that since the outbreak was declared last week, it has almost tripled from around 320 cases to 1,200. There are currently more than 700 active cases of COVID-19 in the region, 31 people hospitalized, including 10 in intensive care.

The majority of cases involve unvaccinated young adults between the ages of 20 and 40.

“If you’ve been planning a trip this weekend to the central Okanagan, we strongly believe that you change your travel plans. If you’ve already made plans and are there right now, these restrictions on holidays in rental units apply. “Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia

“For the events planned for this weekend, we know that we cannot change them immediately. whether it is a wedding, birthday party or organized formal event. ”

Dr Henry added that everyone should keep a list of who is present at any event or gathering.

She added that officials “strongly recommend” that people avoid non-essential travel to and from the central Okanagan region.

“Don’t come if you’re not immune,” Dr Henry said.

“If you have recently traveled to the central Okanagan, you should be aware that this virus spreads quickly, it is much more transmissible,… you should watch yourself for symptoms and get tested if necessary.”

The BC provincial health worker added that the outbreak is caused by the Delta variant, accounting for 80 percent of cases in the Interior health region since the start of July.

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