New COVID-19 restrictions will take into effect Monday as B.C. tries to slow the spread.
The new rise in cases is being driven by the new Omicron variant, according to health officials. They say the new restrictions will be in effect until at least Jan. 31 next year.
New restrictions include:
- Limiting indoor, personal gatherings, including rental vacation properties to the household/residents plus 10 individuals. Or one additional household maximum if all are aged 12 and older and are fully vaccinated.
- Requiring the vaccine card for organized events of all sizes and the QR code is scanned.
- Seating requirements and restricting movement between tables at food and liquor-serving premises.
- Venues of 1,000 or more will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.
- Pausing sports tournaments while the order is in effect
- Restricting all organized New Years’ Eve events to seated-only with no mingling or dancing.
The province says B.C.’s case rate has almost doubled in the last week, and 135 cases of the omicron variant have been identified.
Minister of Health Adrian Dix says the new restrictions are about slowing transmission down as cases are expected to rise.
“These measures will help us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the ones we care about,” said Dix. “Slowing the spread and keeping each other safe is a cause in which we are all connected.”
Despite the case rise – particularly in young people – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said in a press conference Friday that vaccination has kept Omicron hospital visits low.
“They’re not having severe illness, it’s mostly mild illness and that is for a couple of reasons,” said Henry. “One, because people are younger right now, and also because we have very high vaccination rates.”
Henry said slowing down the rate will help not overload the health care system, asking that unvaccinated people get vaccinated.
She said the province has gone through a lot over the last year, and being with close family and friends is important this time of year.
READ MORE: Feds bringing back pre-arrival testing for all travellers, dropping ban on African countries