Covid Restriction Changes in BC as of Feb. 16
The BC government has announced a new transition period after the pandemic as it decided to lift many Covid restrictions from 11.59pm on 16 February. Businesses have welcomed the move as many of them have been seriously affected since the pandemic broke out two years ago.
At the same time, some experts have questioned the timing of the removal of restrictions as they are still apprehensive due to high numbers of hospitalization and deaths related to Covid.
There was an outright ban on indoor wedding receptions, funerals, and indoor parties. However, with the removal of the restrictions, indoor receptions, and other gatherings can return to normal, with full capacity. At the same time, it must be noted that masks and BC vaccine cards are still mandatory for indoor organized gatherings.
Movie screenings can also resume indoors, though there will be checking of masks and vaccine cards at the door of the venue.
Mask wearing to continue
Wearing of masks continues to be mandatory across BC under the face coverings order that was updated on 31 December 2021. According to the order, masks are mandatory for all public indoor gatherings and events for all people aged five and over.
Exception to wearing masks is provided to people who have health conditions or mental impairments that make it impossible for them to wear masks. The exception is also extended to those who cannot wear or remove masks without the help of others and to those who need to remove masks for communication on account of another person’s hearing impairment.
It must be noted that there is no change in mask requirement in BC. The order will be reviewed on 15 March.
Restaurants and bars return to full capacity
Food service and entertainment industries were severely hit by the Covid restrictions. With the removal of the restriction from midnight of 16 February, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars are permitted to open completely with no table limits. Dancing and mingling are also allowed in these places. Though checking of masks and BC vaccine cards will be done at the door.
Proof of vaccination
The BC government has announced that proof of vaccination is mandatory to access one of 15 different public indoor settings including pubs, theatres, licensed restaurants, sports events, indoor skating rinks, grocery, pharmacies, liquor stores, food banks, hair salons and banks.
The onus of digitally checking the QR code of customer’s vaccine cards will be on the business operators.
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