Health officials have reinstated COVID-19 restrictions in part of British Columbia’s Interior Health region where an outbreak led to rapidly spreading infection driven primarily by unvaccinated residents between the ages of 20 and 40.
Dr. Sue Pollock, the chief medical health officer for Interior Health, says starting at midnight, masks must be worn in all indoor public places in central Okanagan communities including Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country and West Bank First Nations lands.
Pollock says masks are also recommended outdoors if people are unable to physically distance, but they will be optional for children under the age of 12 when they’re attending summer camps or similar settings.
She says a number of businesses in the central Okanagan have been forced to close due to illness so enforcement will be increased as officials follow up with establishments where three or more cases of COVID-19 have occurred.
Pollock says non-essential travel to the area is being discouraged unless visitors are fully vaccinated, and residents should be planning events outdoors rather than inside whenever possible.
Nightclubs can remain open with up to 10 people seated at tables, but Pollock says dancing and socializing between tables is not be permitted.
Masks must also be worn at gyms, where enhanced cleaning and physical distancing are being reintroduced.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2021.