B.C.’s analysis of the health effects of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 allowed the province to reduce indoor gathering restrictions as of Thursday, not vaccine mandate protests or actions by other provinces, Premier John Horgan says.
Asked if anti-mandate protests had any affect, Horgan said Tuesday the restrictions being lifted as of Feb. 17 were temporary, and the announcement planned for mid-February to give time for analysis.
“Those were designed to address the Omicron wave, which we had little or no knowledge of when it arrived in December,” Horgan told reporters at the B.C. legislature Feb. 15. “This was not brought upon the public today by any protest, any horn honking, any encampments. It was brought about because this was the plan we had when we brought in the restrictions.”
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the lifting of capacity restrictions on weddings, indoor seated events like theatres, and reopening of night clubs are a result of two years of public efforts that have made B.C. one of the most-vaccinated jurisdictions in the world.
Indoor mask and proof-of-vaccination mandates, the focus of most recent protests, are not being lifted this week, but will be reviewed by March 15 as schools head into spring break, and again in April as Easter approaches.
Rules to be reviewed in March include indoor masks, vaccine card mandates, guidelines for schools and child care centres, religious gatherings and restrictions on child and youth overnight camps.