With Step 2 of B.C.’s COVID Restart Plan now officially underway, Don and Bev Wilden are among the first in line at BC Ferries’ Swartz Bay terminal.
“We’re very happy that they opened it today one of our grandsons is graduating high school so that’s where we’re heading up to is to the graduation and to see him in the Interior,” said Bev Wilden.
Tuesday was the first day people could travel freely around the province and within hours people were lined up for their chance to hop off the island and reconnect with friends and family. For some it’s been more than a year.
“We’ll see if they remember us,” Wilden joked.
BC Ferries says reservation bookings have been on the rise since Monday when B.C. announced it was moving to Step 2 of its Restart Plan. Extra sailings have already been added for this upcoming weekend.
In addition to travel around the province now being permitted, high intensity indoor adult fitness classes can resume, indoor sports games are allowed, and you can have up to 50 spectators at outdoor sports games. You can also host up to 50 people in your backyard.
Theatres are also allowed to reopen.
At the Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre in Victoria they’re on their first day of rehearsals for their new show Salt-Water Moon. Hearing they’ll now be able to perform it live for up to 50 people, rather than just a live-streaming camera, is music to their ears.
“There’s nothing more lonely than being a performer in an empty room right? So much of what the live theatre experience is is the interaction between the actors and the audience and the audience with one another,” said artistic director Brian Richmond.
Fifty is a start, yet Richmond says even if limits are increased even further this summer during Step 3, he doesn’t expect large audiences to come rushing back just yet.
“We expect it will be a bit of a slower process than that and I think we’ll have to get to the stage of full vaccination of the larger population until things start to return to normalcy for us,” he said.
At movie theatres across the province Tuesday was opening day and the crowds were already coming out.
“We’ve got roughly 14 of our shows sold out at the 50 person capacity,” said SilverCity Tillicum general manager Rob Denison.
COVID protocols will remain in place at the movies but many attending their first show in months say it’s worth it.