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

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

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

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read