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Here's what you need to know about Dr. Bonnie Henry's latest COVID-19 orders in B.C.

New orders include mandatory masks, social restrictions and athletic restrictions
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B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (via Flickr/Province of B.C.)

With Dr. Bonnie Henry announcing new orders and restrictions on Thursday (Nov. 19) amid the COVID-19 surge in B.C., the details came fast and furious. 

We've put together a detailed overview of what her orders exactly mean, who they impact and how long they'll be in place. 

All orders and restrictions are formally in place until Dec. 7 at midnight and immediately took effect yesterday. 

MASKS

This was arguably the biggest announcement.

Masks are now mandatory in all indoor public places and retail stores for visitors, customers and employees. 

The B.C. government has listed the following which will be required: 

  • Malls and shopping centres
  • Grocery stores
  • Coffee shops
  • Common areas in hotels
  • Libraries
  • Clothing stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Drug stores
  • Community centres
  • Recreation centres
  • City Halls
  • Restaurants and bars when not seated at a table

Children that are two years old and younger, and those with specific medical conditions, do not have to wear masks. 

Face-coverings at workplaces are required when shared areas cannot maintain physical distancing, including: 

  • Elevators
  • Kitchens
  • Hallways
  • Customer counters
  • Break rooms

Henry said employers are expected to enforce the mandatory mask policy to their employees and customers.

A customer that does not comply can be denied entry or services. 

TRAVEL

Dr. Henry has not placed any public orders on travel, however, non-essential travel is strongly advised against and only if absolutely necessary. 

Essential travel would include that which is needed within your region or travel to medical appointments and hospitals.

You can still travel to the mountains in your local area. If you live in Prince George, you can only ski and snowboard in mountains in this area.

Flights that leave and come into the province are not suspended or banned.

You are not to travel for vacations and those planning on visiting B.C. are asked not to do so.

SOCIAL GATHERINGS AND EVENTS

Dr. Henry has tightened who you can see, as well as when and where.

No social gatherings are allowed, no matter the size, with anyone other than your household or core bubble. 

You should not invite friends or extended family to your house, host gatherings outdoors, in your backyard or have 'play dates' with kids. 

With the orders, all community-based events including galas, musical or theatre performances, seasonal activities and silent auctions are suspended. 

You can still go to restaurants, but only with people that are in your household or core bubble.

There can only be a maximum of six people at a table. 

WHAT IS A CORE BUBBLE?

Many have been confused about what a 'core bubble' is in comparison your 'safe six.' 

For the most, your bubble is your immediate household (the people you live with). 

If you have a rental suite in a house, that suite is a separate home. If you live in an apartment or home with roommates, you are all members of that home. 

If you live alone, you are allowed to see the same one or two people of your core bubble at each other's house. 

WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE NOT CONSIDERED A SOCIAL GATHERING?

There are certain instances that are not included in Dr. Henry's social-gathering ban. 

The B.C. government says going for a walk is fine as long as it doesn't turn into a group of people that meet outside. 

Parents are also allowed to carpool kids to and from schools while grandparents are also able to provide care.

WEDDINGS, FUNERALS AND BAPTISMS

Health officials have said these three events may happen with a maximum of 10 people, which includes the officiant. 

However, any celebration or reception involved are banned, including events inside or outside homes and any public or community-based venue. 

Dr. Henry also announced that in-person gatherings and worship services are suspended at places like churches, synagogues, mosques and gurdwaras. 

Services can be done through video-conferencing options like Zoom or Skype. 

HOME BASED AND PERSONAL SERVICES

Services that are provided in homes are not suspended or banned under these orders. 

Examples include: 

  • Working with people with disabilities
  • Tutoring and music lessons
  • House repairs
  • Cleaning services
  • Hair and nail salons
  • Health care services

HOME SALE AND RENTAL VIEWINGS

If you are renting or selling your home, you can still do so as long as masks and proper protocols are followed. 

Officials say when possible, virtual viewings should be done. 

FORMAL MEETINGS

Meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous, group-support meetings and city council meetings are not affected by these orders.

LIMOS AND PARTY-BUSES

These are banned in each region in the province and the resumption of these companies will be decided by Dr. Henry.

WORKPLACES AND EMPLOYEES

Dr. Henry says all employers must look at and redouble their efforts of its COVID-19 safety plan. 

She also announced that employers must take every effort that is possible to let people work from home. 

Daily screenings should be included in each business safety plan already.

ATHLETICS

Indoor group physical activities such as spin classes, hot yoga or high-intensity interval training are suspended under the new orders. 

Activities including dance studios, martial arts and cheerleading will need to adhere to updated guidances by provincial health authorities.

These can stay open while the details are being finalized. 

Gyms and other recreation facilities are allowed to operating as long as its COVID-19 safety plan is strictly enforced and followed.

SPORTS GAMES, COMPETITIONS AND PRACTICES

Many have asked for clarification on how and which activities are affected. 

Spectators are not allowed at any sports activity under the new orders.

Only people that can be at any sport activity are people that provide care for a player or other participant, like someone that can provide first aid. 

Travel for any activities, games, competitions, training and practices are not allowed. 

Henry uses the following examples: 

  • A team that is from Abbotsford cannot travel to a training session in Chilliwack
  • A team that comes from Victoria is not allowed to go to practice in Richmond

High-performance athletes do not have to adhere to this order: 

  • Identified by the Canadian Sports Institute Pacific as a high-performance athlete affiliated with an accredited provincial or national sports organization
  • Already training in B.C.
  • Continuing to follow the safety guidelines of your provincial sports organization

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?

Dr. Henry said that penalties and other consequences of not following the orders are still being finalized, but under the Government Emergency Program Act, some of the orders can be enforced by police or bylaw officials. 

If you do not follow the orders, you can be fined.




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