A skier wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the first day of the downhill ski season at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, B.C. Friday, November 13, 2020. Recreational travel has been suspended across B.C. until at least Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS

A skier wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the first day of the downhill ski season at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, B.C. Friday, November 13, 2020. Recreational travel has been suspended across B.C. until at least Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS

COVID-19: B.C. extends private gathering ban province-wide

Recreational travel, religious service also banned until Dec. 7

B.C.’s ban on private gatherings in the Lower Mainland has been extended province-wide and will continue for another two weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Social, recreational, sports and vacation trips are off across the province, and indoor exercise classes such as spin, interval training and hot yoga are also suspended everywhere in B.C.

Another public health order shuts down in-person religious services until at least Dec. 7, after they have been allowed to operate under the 50-person limit in recent months. Exceptions are allowed for weddings, funerals or baptisms with a maximum of 10 people present, and no receptions afterward. Daycares, addiction support meetings and other activities in church, gurdwara or temple buildings are allowed to continue, as are social service visits to homes by religious organizations.

The two-week duration of the province-wide order is to slow a rapid growth in coronavirus infections that has gone past 700 a day this week. “We may need to extend that,” Henry said Nov. 19. “That’s one incubation period.”

Henry said the intent of the province-wide private residence restriction is to only socialize with those in your immediate household for the next two weeks.

“It is OK to go for a walk outside with a friend,” she said. “It’s OK to make sure that your grandparents pick up the kids at school, or that you’re able to fix the furnace in your mother’s house. Those are not social gatherings and social events.”

RELATED: More senior home protection needed, industry group says

RELATED: Masks now mandatory in B.C. indoor public, retail spaces

Spectators at indoor or outdoor sporting events are also banned until the end of December, and all travel outside communities associated with sports is suspended. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said the orders are designed to target areas of rapid virus spread, and businesses such as gyms and pubs will see stepped up inspections to check on their safety measures.

Patrons at restaurants and pubs are expected to wear masks when they are away from their tables, such as to go to washrooms. Henry said pubs and bars are a particular concern, after alcohol sales were restricted to 10 p.m.

“If you are thinking of skiing, go to a local mountain,” Henry said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Kwalikum Secondary School. (SD69 photo)
Schools superintendent says protocols don’t change after COVID-19 exposure at Qualicum Beach high school

Elder: ‘We were assured by the Health Authority that the school is safe’

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort general manager Paul Drummond, right, and SOS executive director Susanna Newton with some of the gifts left during the resort’s annual Toy Drive. (Peter McCully photo)
Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive in Parksville a rousing success

More than 1,200 toys, 16 bikes and $13K in cash/gift cards donated

Nurse Doreen Littlejohn takes a longterm approach in her outreach work with homelessness in Parksville Qualicum Beach, but says more needs to be done now. (Auren Ruvinsky photo)
‘Women face a much different experience on the street’: Parksville Qualicum Beach nurse

Littlejohn says community needs to be part of solution to homelessness

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course. (File photo)
Qualicum Beach golf course notified restaurant patron tests positive for COVID-19

Staff to self-monitor until Nov. 28, can continue with daily duties

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

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)
Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

Bob Higgins pulls the gate across on the elevator built inside his home. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Island man’s expertise earns international award with home-built elevator

Experience put to use in winning contest entry for furniture and home projects

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

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

Most Read