B.C.'s COVID ‘circuit breaker’ ends after long weekend, but public health restrictions will be gradually eased | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C.'s COVID ‘circuit breaker’ ends after long weekend, but public health restrictions will be gradually eased

While the province made it clear today the “circuit breaker” lockdown rules imposed six weeks ago are going to be removed as of 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, May 25, that doesn’t mean it will be back to normal in B.C.

It was March 30 when stricter rules were put in place to fight the spread of COVID-19, such as banning indoor dining and indoor worship, limiting indoor gyms to one-on-one training and requiring masks for younger children in schools.

A travel ban between the Interior and Lower Mainland was introduced a short time later.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said those would be in place through the Victoria Day long weekend. She and Premier John Horgan, at a news briefing today, May 20, stressed they were sticking by their guns and those will continue through the weekend.

READ MORE: Children as young as 12 in B.C. urged to get vaccinated with their families

But come Tuesday, that doesn’t mean an end to all the other restrictions that have been in place since last fall, such as not allowing indoor social gatherings with anyone outside personal household bubbles and requiring that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces.

This comes at a time when the number of new daily COVID cases has been dropping steadily, along with the number of active cases and people in hospital.

“We are seeing things go in the right direction but we also know that we have learned in the last 18 months that things can change quickly,” Dr. Henry said. “While we’ve talked about the future, nothing is going to be back to 100 per cent on Tuesday. It’s not going to be a light switch, it’s going to be a dimmer switch.”

Horgan refused to give any hint to restaurants on whether they could stock up on food and open their dining rooms Tuesday.

READ MORE: B.C. RCMP to step up COVID-19 road checks for May long weekend

"The challenges of managing this in a fair way so all of the people who have been affected by the circuit breaker get information at the same time is to hold with the position that Dr. Henry and Minister (Adrian) Dix and I had from the beginning, that the circuit breaker was going to be in effect up until midnight of the Monday on the long weekend,” he said. “Everyone knows that. Everyone heard that.”

Everyone also knows that the new rules will be explained on Tuesday, he said.

He noted that every long weekend in recent months was followed by an increase in the number of new COVID cases, which is why any easing of restrictions will be done slowly.

Dr. Henry noted that the case counts B.C. is seeing today are due to the actions people took two or three weeks ago, not only in getting vaccinated but also in taking the “circuit breaker” measures seriously.

“These are things that have made a difference,” she said.

“Thankfully, we’re seeing the decrease reflected in the people who end up in hospital and end up in ICU and those take longer to go up and longer to come down. So we’re not out of the woods yet. We’re still not at the place, for example, where we can restart the surgeries that have been postponed. But that’s where we need to get to.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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