'Do not blow this for the rest of us': B.C. strengthens COVID-19 restrictions indoors amid growing cases

Elisabetta Bianchini
·2-min read
March 1, 2021, Victoria, BC, Canada: March 1, 2021 - Victoria, BC, Canada - BC Premier John Horgan, addresses the media at the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in Victoria, BC, Canada. (Mike Mastrandrea/ZUMA Wire)

As COVID-19 cases continue to be detected, British Columbia is increasing restrictions in indoor settings in the province.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer said that a "circuit breaker" is now required to break the chains of COVID-19 transmission.

"Gathering indoors is what is the greatest risk to all of us right now," Dr. Henry said.

For the next three weeks, from midnight on March 30 to April 19, indoor dining is paused across B.C. Any establishments that only serve snacks or appetizers must close. These restaurants and dining locations can have patio service, take-out and delivery options.

Indoor adult group fitness activities of any kind are also paused, restricted to individual or one-on-one activities only.

"Contact tracing has shown us that these settings amplify the spread and as a result, activities indoors in these locations need to be on hold for now," Dr. Henry said.

She added that indoor worship services must also cease operations, but outdoor ceremonies are still permitted.

"Non-essential activities need to be limited to outside only," Dr. Henry said, stressing that group gatherings can occur outside with no more than 10 close contacts.

"That does not mean one group of people today and a different group tomorrow. If you have a work or school group that you need to have contact with, you may need to limit that even further."

The provincial health officer also confirmed that Whistler Blackcomb ski resort must close until April 19 as well, after concerns around cases that are linked to travel to Whistler popping up in different areas of the province.

Dr. Henry also said the province will be updating public health guidelines to support mask wearing for all student from Grade 4 and older.

"We know that this needs to be done in a way that supports children to wear masks at all times when they’re in the school setting," she said.

B.C. Premier John Horgan warned that case counts have risen "unacceptably high" and people in the province need to "redouble" their efforts.

He stressed that individuals in the 20 to 39 year old age group, in particular, have to limit their social activities.

"The cohort from 20 to 39 are not paying as much attention to these broadcast and, quite frankly, are putting the rest of us in a challenging situation," Horgan said at a press conference on Monday. "My appeal to you is, do not blow this for the rest of us."

"We have lots to be hopeful about in the weeks and months ahead but not if we don’t follow the guidelines."

B.C. reported 2,518 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend. There are currently 299 people in B.C. hospitals with COVID-19, including 79 in critical care or ICU. Another six people in the province died from COVID-19.