Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. British Columbia’s Ministry of Health is clarifying new rules around social gatherings, one day after a new regional public health order was issued. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. British Columbia’s Ministry of Health is clarifying new rules around social gatherings, one day after a new regional public health order was issued. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

B.C. Health Ministry clarifies social gathering rules of new regional order

Under the new order, there are to be no social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your immediate household

B.C.’s Ministry of Health is clarifying new rules around social gatherings, one day after a new regional public health order was issued.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the new orders in a special media briefing Saturday amid spiking COVID-19 cases and they apply to residents of the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health regions for the next two weeks.

In a statement Sunday, the ministry says that under the new order, there are to be no social gatherings of any size with anyone other than your immediate household.

It says this includes not only gatherings in your home, but also outdoors, at restaurants or at other venues.

Restaurants can remain open but guests must stick to a table with their own household members.

Going for a walk is not considered a social gathering, but British Columbians need to be vigilant that a walk doesn’t turn into a group of people gathering outside.

“I know there has been some confusion on what immediate household means,” Ministry spokeswoman Shannon Greer says in an email.

“To give some context, these would be the people you spend the most time with and are physically close to. These would be people who are part of your regular routine, so household members, immediate family, a close friend or the people you have regular close contact with (for example a co-parent who lives outside the household).”

Those who live alone cannot host gatherings, but can continue to see members of what they would consider their immediate household at home, outside or at a restaurant, she says.

The new orders will be in effect until Nov. 23 at 3 p.m.

The Central Coast and Bella Coola valley are exempt, as Henry said Saturday they are “geographically different” and more closely linked to Interior Health. The community of Hope has also been added to the exemption list.

Non-essential travel to and from the regions in question, which span the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, is strongly discouraged, Henry said Saturday.

The order also prohibits indoor group fitness such as dance, yoga and spin classes.

Businesses and recreation centres that host those activities must remain closed until their local medical health officer approves a safety plan.

The Ministry clarified Sunday that those businesses must remain closed until that’s the case, whether or not the two-week order has expired.

Medical health officers will work hard to sign off plans as quickly as possible, it said.

“We know this is difficult, but it’s only for two weeks. As Dr. Henry has said British Columbians have flattened the curve before and they can do it again,” Greer said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

Construction of the proposed Ross Street underpass may start in the spring of 2021. (City of Salmon Arm illustration)
Salmon Arm’s Ross Street underpass to go to tender but not without risk

City council gives nod to construction agreement after pondering insurance

Masks are now officially mandatory in all City of Campbell River facilities. (Black Press File Photo)
Interior Health reports 49 new COVID-19 cases overnight

302 cases remain active; two in hospital

A School District 83 trustee expressed concern regarding how employee and trustee expenses are reported during a review of the statement of financial information for the district's fiscal year end. (File photo)
Transparency concern raised over North Okanagan-Shuswap school district expenses

Employee and trustee expenses total more than $370,000 for fiscal year

Shuswap Theatre is seeking outdoor venues for its planned Dec. 18-20 performances of Once Upon a Time in the Shuswap. (File photo)
Shuswap Theatre focused on outdoor travelling Christmas show

Salmon Arm-based theatre troupe in search of possible outdoor venues

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Garage in Kelowna burns to the ground, blaze deemed suspicious

Fire crews responded to the scene just after 4:30 p.m.

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

(Ty Hainsworth / Facebook)
No injuries after fire rips through South Okanagan fruit stand

A fruit stand caught fire Tuesday afternoon, closing Highway 97 for two hours

A major reconstruction project on 32nd Avenue is nearing completion and the road is now re-opened to traffic between 33rd Street and 35th Street. (City of Vernon photo)
ROAD REPORT: More roundabouts coming to North Okanagan

New intersection lights up Dec. 13, 30th Street paving delayed, PV Road completed in Vernon

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, families stay at a temporary evacuation center at Catanduanes province, eastern Philippines, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, as Typhoon Goni hits the country. Families living near coastal towns have moved to evacuation centers as the strong typhoon makes landfall. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)
Okanagan community group organizes fundraiser for typhoon-hit Philippines

Over two million people have been affected by flooding, with about 500,000 forced to leave homes

Most Read