A Provincial Health Order is in effect from November 19 at midnight to December 7, 2020, at midnight.

Updated November 20, 2020

New Public Health Orders on province-wide restrictions were announced on November 19, 2020. These restrictions cover social gatherings and events; restaurants and bars; athletic activities; mask requirements; travel advisory and enforcement and are in effect until December 7, 2020.

  • General information - Part one

    Does this rule apply to people who live alone?

    We know this is very challenging for those who live alone. People who live alone cannot host gatherings but can continue to see one or two members of their pandemic bubble at each other’s homes.

    Your pandemic bubble is your household.

    If you live alone it is one or two people, the same consistent people that have been part of your pandemic bubble.

    This order is about taking a step back, reducing your social connections and spending time with only those who you consider to be your immediate family or bubble.

    Can I attend in-person religious services?

    In-person religious gatherings and worship services are suspended under the order. For example: do not attend a church, synagogue or mosque service.

    Religious services can continue using remote or virtual attendance options, like Zoom or Skype. 

    I am supposed to look after my grandchildren this week, can I?

    Yes. The Provincial Health Officer’s order applies to social gatherings so if you are part of a social group, now is the time to take a break from that activity or do it virtually. Right now it is very important that everyone in B.C. reduce their social interactions so that essential visits, such as taking care of a grandchild can continue.

    I work with more than six people, but I can’t see a few friends?

    We know this is hard, but it is a critical part of keeping our businesses open and our schools and our community safe as we go into winter.

    We want to keep things happening as much as possible in our communities, because we know that too has an effect on our health and wellbeing.

    This is about stepping back from social gatherings.

    We need to keep up our COVID-19 safety precautions in the workplace as well.

    Will enforcement actually happen?

    It is expected that the vast majority of people will voluntarily comply with the order.

    Enforcement may happen if there is concern about COVID-19 transmission.

    Police and bylaw officers can enforce the orders with fines, charges and operation shutdowns for businesses, organizations or citizens who break the rules.

    It is our hope that British Columbians will recognize the importance of taking these measures now for this short two-week period, without enforcement, so we can bend the curve and protect our province.

    Are people still able to socialize outside with their safe six?

    No. For now, there are to be no social gatherings of any size at your home, inside or outside.

    People who live alone must not host gatherings, but can continue to see one or two members of their pandemic bubble at each other’s homes.

    Can I still have a wedding ceremony, funeral service or baptism?

    Yes, wedding ceremonies, funeral services and baptisms may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 safety plan in place. You can have a maximum number of 10 people attend, including the officiant – but there are to be no receptions inside or outside your home, or at any public or community-based venue. This includes events of fewer than 50 people.

    Do I have to wear a mask outside of my home?

    Masks are now required for everyone in ALL public indoor settings and workplaces. 

    Why is it safe for a teacher to be in a classroom of 26 students, but not see a few close friends?

    This order is based on evidence that social gatherings, particularly in household settings but also in other social situations such as gathering before or after sports events or indoor group physical activities are causing significant COVID-19 transmission.

    People who violate this order bring exposure risks into their home – risks that they later take with them to their workplaces. We all need to reduce our social interactions so we can keep our schools and workplaces open.

    Can school age children/teenagers have playdates or gatherings if they’re in the same school or childcare cohort?

    No. Until December 7,  we need to limit our social interactions so we can bend the curve, protect our communities and our health care system.

    Kids can still play together at school as part of their school and childcare cohorts where safety measures are in place to protect children and staff.

     

  • General information - Part two

    Where can I find the new order?

    All of Provincial Health Officer’s orders are posted at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus

    What communities does this actually impact?

    All communities in the province of B.C. 

    Can you still travel inside B.C.?

    At this time, all non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province. For example:

    • Do not travel for a vacation
    • Do not travel to visit friends or family outside of your household or core bubble

    British Columbians should only travel in and out of their communities if absolutely necessary. Essential travel includes regular travel for work or travel for things like medical appointments.

    Travel for social or recreational reasons is what should be curtailed. We are asking people to not leave their community and province – unless it is essential travel.

    I have an appointment at B.C. Children's Hospital next week. I live out of town and cannot do the trip in a day. Am I allowed to stay at my parents’ house in Langley?

    Yes. You are asked to be diligent about limiting your other social interactions in order to keep your parents and your home community safe.

    Can I still practice physical distancing to visit with friends?

    There are to be no social gatherings with those outside of your household.

    You can go for a walk with friends; but keep it small.

    If you live alone it can be with one or two members of your pandemic bubble.

    Should we stop cleaning services, house repairs, in home tutoring, working with the disabled, music lessons and other services that come to your home?

    The order restricts social gatherings. This is nothing like a social gathering.

    Can you report people who break the rules? Is there a penalty or fine if someone has a social gathering? 

    Inspections and surveillance from Public Health Inspectors, Bylaw Officers and the Police are being conducted in these regions.

    These officials can enforce the orders with fines, charges and operations shutdowns for businesses, organizations or citizens who break the rules.

    It is our hope that British Columbians will recognize the importance of taking these measures now for this short two-week period, without enforcement, so we can bend the curve and protect our province.

    The current fines are $200 for an individual and $2,000 for an event organizer.

    Can parents still carpool kids to and from school?

    Yes. The order restricts social gatherings. This is nothing like a social gathering.

    Are children allowed or not allowed to play outdoor games?

    Games, competitions and practices can continue with no spectators and no travel.

    No spectators are allowed at any sport activities under the order. The only people allowed to attend sport activities are those that provide care to a participant or player. For example, providing first aid. 

    Travel to, from and between regions for athletic activities like games, competitions, training and practice is prohibited under this order. 

     
  • General information for businesses

    I have a flight booked out of Vancouver. Can I still go?

    B.C. has never had restrictions on people leaving the province. However, we are seeing resurgences in almost every province across the country so British Columbians should only travel if absolutely necessary.

    Can people who live in the Fraser Health region but work in the Vancouver Coastal Health Region still come to work?

    Yes, essential travel within B.C. includes:

    • Regular travel for work within your region
    • Travel for things like medical appointments and hospital visits

    For example, if you live in Surrey and work in Vancouver you can continue to commute. 

    Can daily business and worksite screenings be done using an app?

    Screening should already be included in every business’s existing COVID-19 safety plan; this could be done by someone asking workers as they arrive at the workplace, through an app, an online form, or through signage and messaging at the entrance to the workplace.

    This order is a reminder for employers and employees to take the screening seriously and answer honestly, but it does not require in-person assessment of every employee as they arrive at work.

    All employees should be reminded that now is not the time to get complacent and come to work with symptoms that could be COVID-19.

    Why are restaurants and, movie theatres allowed to have up to 50 people, but wedding ceremonies and funeral services cannot?

    Wedding ceremonies and funeral services may proceed with a maximum number of 10 people, including the officiant, and COVID-19 safety plans in place but there are to be no receptions inside or outside your home, or at any public or community-based venue.

    These orders are based on evidence that social gatherings like wedding and funeral receptions are causing significant COVID-19 transmission. People who violate this order bring exposure risks into their home – risks that they later take with them to their homes and workplaces. We all need to reduce our social interactions so we can keep our schools and workplaces open.

    Restaurants and, movie theatres have COVID-19 safety plans that include measures like physical distancing, small numbers of people per table or seats, cleaning protocols and mask wearing etc. We don’t have these same measures in our homes and that means transmission can happen more easily.

    Can in-person business or support group meetings still take place? 

    Business meetings, such as city council meetings, and support group meetings, such as  Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, can still take place. Up to 50 people can attend, space permitting, with appropriate COVID-19 safety plans in place. 

    What changes are required for workplace screening?

    A screening process should already be included in every business’s existing COVID-19 safety plans.

    Employers must ensure this screening continues. Examples include someone asking workers as they arrive at the workplace, through an app or online form or through signage and messaging at the entrance to the workplace

    An in-person assessment of every employee as they arrive at work is not required.

    Now is not the time to get complacent and come to work with symptoms that could be COVID-19.

    Can I access business services that operate inside a home (hair salons, nail salons, financial advising, etc.)?

    The order does not restrict services provided in the home. 

    These services can continue to operate. For example:

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

    Are home viewings still allowed (rental and home sales)?

    The order has no impact on home viewings. Use masks, maintain a safe distance from others, clean your hands, and cough into your sleeves – stay home if you are sick. We must use all these layers of protection to stop the virus from spreading.

    Can work meetings continue to take place of more than six people in an office setting?

    Yes. Business meetings can continue with COVID-19 safety plans in place; however, consideration should be given to conducting the meeting virtually. 

    Can business training sessions continue in the work place or do they have to be moved to virtual?

    Yes. This order is for social gatherings. Business training can continue with COVID safety plans in place. However, right now businesses should consider holding virtual meetings for the next two weeks wherever possible.

  • Information for restaurants

    Can restaurants continue to operate? 

    The order does not impact restaurants and bars. Restaurants and bars can continue to operate as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place.

    You should only visit a restaurant with people in your household or core bubble. Remember, a maximum of six people at a table

    WorkSafeBC will be conducting inspections to verify that COVID-19 Safety Plans remain effective. Restaurants that are noncompliant with plan requirements may face orders and fines, and possible referral to public health which may result in a closure order.

    • Review the PHO Order – Food and Liquor Serving Premises (PDF)
    • They may be shut down, particularly if there is evidence of transmission of COVID-19. We have rules, including no more than six people at a table, no table hopping, limited hours of operation and alcohol service.
    • When those rules are followed we have not seen transmission of COVID-19, so we know these safety plans work.
    • Restaurants need to continue to follow these rules and not allow for any complacency.
    • WorkSafe BC will be paying close attention to restaurants as we know they can become environments where there is transmission to large groups of people, if the rules are not properly followed. 
    • If needed we will temporarily close the facility until COVID-19 safety plans have been reviewed and updated.

    Can people still go to restaurants? 

    Restaurants and bars can continue to operate as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place. 

    You should only visit a restaurant with people in your household. Remember, there is a maximum of six people allowed at a table. 

    Restaurants were suggested as safe alternatives for people to have their celebrations, if there are bookings for the future for beyond two weeks, do they need to be cancelled? 

    Until December 7, there are no receptions permitted following weddings and funerals, including any planned up unitll December 7 should be cancelled. 

    Restaurants can otherwise stay open and must diligently follow their COVID-19 safety plans

    Review the PHO Order – Food and Liquor Serving Premises (PDF)

  • Information for gyms fitness centres and recreation centres

    Do all gyms need to close?

    Individual or 1-2 person training sessions and individual workouts with appropriate COVID-19 safety plans can continue, so most gyms and recreation facilities can remain open as long as their COVID-19 safety plans are being strictly adhered to.

    Hot yoga, spin classes and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are suspended right now as they are considered to be high risk indoor group physical activities.  

    When you refer to "indoor group physical activities", does that apply to curling clubs that have large volumes of indoor airspace? 

    We must do all we can to limit the spread of this virus. Transmission can happen in places people congregate when participating in these activities like locker rooms, foyers and spectator areas and attention must be paid to reducing these risks. However, as curling is a non-contact sport, the order has no application.  

    What about pools? 

    Nothing in the order affects pools. 

    Pools are reminded that it is important to review COVID-19 safety plans and in particular ensure people are not congregating in change rooms etc.