PROVINCIAL Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced on Thursday that the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) order on gatherings and events has been amended to allow for outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people.
They said: “We are progressing, but we are not yet in a place where any of us can let go of the headway we have made. So, as much as we all want to take a step back, we need to continue to push forward. Where we can do things more safely is outside.”
They added: “Should you choose to meet with your family and friends, remember that safety needs to continue to be top of mind and the requirement to follow all COVID-19 safety plans remains in place – at work or school, when we are out for dinner or going to the grocery store.
“There are no changes to the current restrictions on indoor gatherings – in our homes or elsewhere. The requirements for restaurants and bars also continue. This is a slow turning of the dial.”
Henry and Dix pointed out: “St. Patrick’s Day is next week, a day when we often gather with friends. While we can now enjoy the day in a small group outside, the PHO order on food and liquor establishments is being amended to restrict alcohol sales as they were on New Year’s Eve.
“Our recipe and our plan for the next few weeks is straightforward: Keep using our layers of protection and following the orders and restrictions. If you are seeing others, stay small and it must be outside. ‘Few faces, open spaces and safety layers in place’ are what we need to put COVID-19 behind us.”
Regarding the latest modelling showing how the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed in the province over the past year, they noted: “What we have seen very clearly is no one is immune to the virus or the impacts that come with it. The pandemic is still very much with us.
“The most effective tools we had to control the spread of the virus have been the public health restrictions combined with your individual efforts.
“Your personal and collective actions – washing your hands, staying home when ill, wearing masks, giving others the space to stay safe, staying apart from friends and family, and following the public health orders and restrictions – have made a significant difference.
“We now have another very powerful means to push back on the virus – safe and effective vaccines. With each day that more people are immunized, our shared protection increases.”
To view the March 11, 2021, modelling presentation, go to BCCDC: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/modelling-projections
Provincial health officer orders and guidance: