Between March 29 at midnight until further notice, the Provincial Health Officer is strengthening province-wide restrictions.

Updated April 19, 2021.

Public Health Orders on province-wide restrictions were announced on November 19, 2020 and amended on March 29, 2021. These restrictions cover social gatherings and events; restaurants and bars; athletic activities; mask requirements; travel advisory and enforcement and are in effect until further notice based on direction from the Provincial Health Officer.

  • General information - Part one

    Do these rules 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, your core bubble is a maximum of two people you see regularly.

    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 your core bubble.

    I am supposed to look after my grandchildren, 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?

    Up to 10 people may gather outdoors. Stick to the same 10 people. Continue to use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing.

    No social gatherings of any size are permitted indoors or at your residence with anyone other than your household or, if you live alone, your core bubble

    We know this is hard, but it is a critical part of keeping our businesses open and our schools and our community safe. 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?

    Up to 10 people may gather outdoors. Stick to the same 10 people. Continue to use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing.

    No social gatherings of any size are permitted indoors or at your residence with anyone other than your household or, if you live alone, your core bubble

    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?

    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 the Provincial Health Officer’s orders are posted at the Provincial website:  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. See also the current province-wide restrictions 

    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?

    You can go for a walk, bike ride or spend time outdoors with up to 10 people. Stick to the same 10 people. Continue to use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing. 

    No social gatherings of any size are permitted indoors.

    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 without enforcement so we can bend the curve and protect our province.

    The current fines are $230 for an individual and $2,300 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.

    Can weddings and funeral services proceed indoors?

    Wedding ceremonies and funeral services may proceed with a maximum number of 10 people, including the officiant, and COVID-19 safety plans in place. Receptions associated with funerals, weddings or baptisms are not allowed inside homes or venues.

    Funerals conducted by a religious body may be held outdoors (including in open-sided tents and under overhead coverings) for up to 50 people, plus two extra people to help ensure rules are followed. Before, during and after the funeral service, people must not gather or socially engage.

    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.

    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)?

    Rental and home viewings should be restricted to a maximum of six people, subject to each person present  being able to keep two metres away from every other person present at all times. Use masks, 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 wherever possible.

  • Information for restaurants

    Restaurants, pubs, bars and food courts are closed for indoor dining until further notice.

    • Outdoor patio seating and take-out or delivery is allowed

    In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, people should only be dining at restaurants with their household. For people who live alone, this should be with a maximum of two people they regularly interact with (core bubble).

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

  • Information about exercise

    Indoor high intensity group exercise

    Indoor high intensity group exercise is prohibited. High intensity group exercise causes a sustained and accelerated rate of breathing and may involve close contact with other people. Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high intensity group exercise must suspend the following activities:

    • Hot yoga
    • Spin classes
    • Aerobics
    • Bootcamp
    • High intensity aspects of circuit training
    • High intensity interval training (HIIT)

    Indoor low intensity group exercise

    Indoor low intensity group exercise is prohibited until April 19 at midnight. These include:

    • Yoga (Hatha)
    • Low intensity exercise machines and cardio equipment
    • Pilates
    • Light weightlifting
    • Stretching
    • Tai-Chi
    • Low intensity Barre classes

    Gyms and recreation facilities

    Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that is strictly followed.

    The order places restrictions on adult and youth indoor and outdoor team sports. See the Provincial Health Officer orders for more information.

    Travel for sport

    Adult indoor and outdoor team sports

    Indoor and outdoor organized team sports for people 22 years of age and older are prohibited. These include:

    • Basketball
    • Cheerleading
    • Combat sports
    • Floor hockey
    • Floor ringette
    • Road hockey
    • Ice hockey
    • Ringette
    • Martial arts
    • Netball
    • Team skating
    • Soccer
    • Volleyball
    • Indoor bowling
    • Lawn bowling
    • Curling
    • Lacrosse
    • Hockey
    • Ultimate
    • Rugby
    • Football
    • Baseball
    • Softball

    While restrictions are currently in place related to adult team sports, some indoor and outdoor sports and activities, including drills and training activities, are permitted with a reduced number of participants:

    • Two people may engage in indoor sports with one another
    • 10 people may engage in outdoor sports with one another

    In both cases, participants must maintain a distance of three metres from one another unless everyone lives in the same private residence.

    Youth indoor and outdoor team sports

    All organized indoor and outdoor sports for people 21 years of age and younger should follow viaSport's Return to Sport Phase 2 guidance with respect to maintaining physical distance for participants. This means games, tournaments and competitions are temporarily suspended for teams.

    • Individual drills and modified training activities can continue
    • Amateur sports organizations and leagues may implement additional guidelines to ensure the health and safety of participants

    All indoor and outdoor team sports for people 22 years of age and older are suspended.

  • Religious gatherings and worship services between March 28 and May 13

    The variance allowing indoor religious gatherings and worship services between March 28 and May 13 is suspended.

    Indoor in-person religious gatherings and worship services of any size are prohibited.

    • You must not attend a service at a church, synagogue, mosque, gudwara, temple or other place of worship.
    • Religious services can continue using remote or virtual attendance options, like Zoom or Skype.

    You can still visit your place of worship for individual activities such as guidance from spiritual leaders, contemplation or personal prayer.

    Religious leaders may attend the home of a member of their religious community to provide religious services to the occupant.

    You can attend an outdoor religious gathering.

    Outdoor religious gatherings and worship services

    Religious worship services may be held outdoors (including in open-sided tents and under overhead coverings). Before, during and after the service, people must not gather or socially engage.

    • Up to 50 people may attend, plus two extra people to make sure rules are followed.
    • Participants must be two metres apart unless they live in the same private residence.
    • Drive-in worship events can continue to operate (No more than 50 vehicles may be present, and people who attend in a vehicle must remain in the vehicle).
    • Musical groups of up to five musicians may perform.
    • The only people who can sing are soloists and worship leaders. The only people who can chant are worship leaders.

    Masks are required at all times by everyone in attendance.

    • Masks can only be removed by soloists (when singing), worship leaders (when speaking, singing or chanting), readers (when reading out loud), or musicians who need to do so to play their instrument. They must maintain three metres of spacing or use a physical barrier.
    • Masks are not required for people who can’t wear a mask due to a condition or impairment or kids under the age of 12.

    Organizers must:

    • Collect information for contract tracing.
    • Supply hand sanitizer.
    • Caution those at risk, including seniors and those with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems, from attending.