British Columbia has officially entered Step 3 of its COVID-19 Restart Plan and many of the current restrictions are being lifted.
After the longest public health emergency in Canadian history, Premier John Horgan announced on Tuesday that he believes it’s safe to take the next step.
“That means we can go and cheer for our kids at the soccer game in the arena — in the gymnasium, we can go to a friend’s place for dinner, we can plan that wedding, we can go to the theatre, we can go to a concert, we can engage again,” he said.
Starting today, July 1, several restrictions will be lifted including limits on restaurant capacity, gatherings, nightclubs and mandatory mask requirements.
Indoor and outdoor personal gatherings are allowed to return to normal while indoor and outdoor organized events, such as concerts, sporting events and shows can resume with limited capacity.
Walk-through events such as fairs, festivals and trade shows can return to normal and worship services will have no restrictions.
Casinos and nightclubs will also be able to open at limited capacity. However, nightclubs will be under heavy restrictions, with no music allowed and socializing restricted to each table.
Indoor fitness classes can operate at their usual capacity and liquor service restrictions have been lifted entirely.
Additionally, mask-wearing in indoor public spaces will no longer be a requirement for fully vaccinated individuals, but a recommendation as part of the move to Step 3. The province first imposed a mandatory mask requirement back on Nov. 19.
In Step 3, businesses will gradually transition to new communicable disease plans based on guidelines released by WorkSafeBC on June 28.
For many businesses and retailers, physical barriers will still be in place during Step 3, but capacity limits, formal health screening tests and directional arrows, as well as other physical distancing measures, will no longer be required.
Below is a full breakdown of what restrictions are changing in B.C. as of Thursday, July 1:
- Return to normal for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings;
- Maximum capacity for indoor organized gatherings of 50 people or up to 50 per cent of a venue’s total capacity, whichever is greater — this includes things like concerts, sporting events and shows.
- Maximum capacity for outdoor organized gatherings of 5,000 people or up to 50 per cent of a venue’s total capacity, whichever is greater;
- Return to normal for fairs, festivals and trade shows, with communicable disease plans;
- Return to Canada-wide recreational travel;
- Reopening of casinos, with reduced capacity and ~50 per cent of gaming stations permitted to open;
- Reopening of nightclubs, with up to 10 people seated at tables, no socializing between tables and no dancing;
- Return to normal hours for liquor service at restaurants, bars and pubs with table limits to be determined by venue and no socializing between tables;
- Return to normal for sports and exercise facilities, with communicable disease plans; and
- Mask-wearing recommended in indoor public spaces for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated.