British Columbians will likely see some coronavirus-related health orders eased by Family Day — but health officials must evaluate the risk of a spike in infections.
In a press briefing Friday (Jan. 28), provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gave a presentation about the evolution of the pandemic in B.C. While she is hopeful some restrictions will be lifted by Family Day, she told reporters that health officials must continue to exercise caution.
On Jan. 18, the current restrictions on gatherings and events were extended through Feb. 16. Health officials will reevaluate the COVID-19 situation in the province on Feb. 15 and likely lift some restrictions gradually if B.C. continues on its current trajectory, noted Henry.
"I do hope that we will be able to lift some of those restrictions and gradually get to those needed connections that we have," she said, adding that most of the restrictions involve social gatherings.
But the health officer noted that the province won't "open things up completely" as that could result in a dramatic spike in cases. Instead, it will work with different sectors for a gradual reopening as people come back together.
The latest orders, initially announced Dec. 21, 2021, limited indoor gatherings to one household plus 10 other individuals or one other household.
From couples hoping to tie the knot with a large reception to companies hosting large celebratory events, the orders also prohibit indoor organized gatherings. Additionally, orders are in place to keep bars and nightclubs closed.
Restaurants, pubs and cafes are permitted to stay open but only a maximum of six guests may be seated per table (plus physical distancing or barriers). Guests cannot mingle between tables.
The COVID-19 safety plan order remains in place for numerous B.C. workplaces. The plan includes employees working from home when possible, practicing physical distancing, and keeping staff separate from customers. The order is specific to industry and businesses and does not apply to child care, K-12 schools or post-secondary education.