Premier John Horgan has for the first time opened the door to vaccinated B.C. residents getting special permission to participate in more activities than those who have yet to be vaccinated.
Horgan said Wednesday he believes British Columbians who get vaccinated are in a safer position to do some things, though he would not speculate on what kind of activities his government is considering.
“We will be making changes as more people get vaccinated,” he said.
“Those who have been vaccinated will have a bit more flexibility of course because they are less risk to the people around them, and the people around them are less risk to them.
“But I don’t want to speculate on any activity that may well be available to those who have been vaccinated before it’s available to anyone else.”
Any changes would be made in consultation with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, said Horgan. So far, Henry has relaxed rules society-wide, including allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people during spring break.
“It really isn’t as simple as I’ve had a vaccine, I can go and do whatever I want,” said Horgan. “We need to make sure we are doing this in a methodical way.”
One area likely to include consideration about vaccination status is in B.C.’s plans to reopen long-term care homes to visitors, which the province is still developing and which have not yet been made public.
In the United States, the Centres for Disease Control issued guidelines that allow people vaccinated to hold house parties with other vaccinated people, as well as with a single household of unvaccinated people, without the need for masks or social distancing. The U.S. CDC also says a person vaccinated does not have to get tested or undergo a quarantine if they are in close contact with someone who is later found to be infected by COVID-19.
Horgan last week rejected the idea of so-called “COVID passports” for use in the province and in Canada, which could be mandatory to prove vaccination to attend say a sporting event or concert. But he said proof of vaccination should be something used for international travel.
B.C. is currently vaccinated seniors aged 80 years and older this week, with a plan to begin vaccinations in the 75-79-year age cohort in April. However, provincial officials have said B.C. may be bumping up those guidelines as more vaccines become available.