It has been quite some time since British Columbians have been able to see a light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, but it appears that the province’s current trajectory is offering a roadmap to normalcy before the end of the year.
On Tuesday, B.C. took the next step towards reopening by entering Step 2 of its most recent COVID-19 Restart Plan.
As of today, June 15, the provincial government is easing some restrictions and allowing for more social interactions.
Here are some of the things that you are now able to do as part of this new phase:
The travel restrictions which prohibited British Columbians from moving between three designated regions have been lifted. This means for Vancouver Islanders that non-essential travel on the B.C. Ferries are allowed.
Clearly many residents have been eager to book a trip somewhere as the moment it was confirmed Monday that the province would be entering Step 2, heightened traffic on the BC Ferries’ website resulted in it crashing.
While travel within British Columbia’s borders will be allowed, the government is advising against travel from out-of-province.
The government outlines that anyone travelling within B.C. is asked to “plan ahead and be respectful while visiting communities,” especially smaller and rural towns and Indigenous communities — including respecting local travel advisories.
The government also calls on British Columbians to refrain from any travel within the province if one is feeling sick.
Gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed for organized indoor events, barring there is a safety plan in place. This means movie theatres, banquet halls, and live presentations will be able to plan for up to 50 people in attendance as part of this phase.
Additionally, outdoor gatherings are also allowed to be up to 50 people. If someone is looking to throw an event in their backyard, they are now able to do so for a capacity of up to 50 guests.
This can include things like birthday parties, backyard barbeques or outdoor weddings.
The Province has also included playdates as being allowed under the latest rule changes.
While social distancing, capacity limits and table limits will still remain, restaurants are able to now serve liquor beyond the 10 p.m. cutoff that was installed last year.
Under the new rules, liquor service will be allowed at facilities around British Columbia until midnight.
Also in Step 2, restaurants will see the return of in-house events including things like trivia and music bingo.
This phase will see the return of indoor team sports allowed for adults and youth. This means that indoor intramurals for sports such as basketball will once again be allowed, however, without spectators at this time.
Outdoors sports, on the other hand, will be allowed to have spectators with a cap of 50 people.
Indoor high and low-intensity group exercise workouts are now allowed, but, similar to restaurants, reduced capacity remains in place.
For bigger sporting events, including the upcoming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which is scheduled to be held at Victoria’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, it is unclear whether the government will allow fans or not.
Indoor faith gatherings are once again allowed as part of Step 2.
These gatherings can include a maximum of 50 people, provided a facility has created a safety plan.
For smaller facilities, the government says it is allowed 10 per cent of the place of worship’s total capacity.
Public health safety protocols, such as mask-wearing in all indoor public spaces and physical distancing, will remain in place during Step 2. As well, personal indoor gatherings will be limited to five visitors or one other household.