BREAKING: New sweeping health orders and restrictions for B.C. starting today | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BREAKING: New sweeping health orders and restrictions for B.C. starting today

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix
Image Credit: Province of B.C
November 19, 2020 - 3:08 PM

Sweeping new restrictions and orders have been placed across B.C. today by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry as the province moves to once again tackle the COVID-19 curve.

Many of the changes will be familiar to residents of the Lower Mainland — wearing masks is now mandatory for staff and customers in all public and indoor spaces, except for people who are eating or drinking.

Dr. Henry has ordered all social gatherings including those in private homes be limited to the immediate household.

She has also ordered that social gatherings in public spaces, even those with less than 50 people, must stop, including faith-based services, events in hotel meeting rooms and music performances in restaurants even when there is safe distancing.

Weddings, baptisms and funerals can still be held but only with a maximum of 10 people attending and no ancillary gatherings are allowed.

Other activities in churches, such as day care or AA meetings, can continue.

READ MORE: 538 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.; 1 death

Certain indoor sports activities are banned, as of today, Nov. 19, such as spin classes, high-intensity interval training and hot yoga. Other activities will be monitored and ordered closed if necessary.

Non-essential travel for things like recreation or socializing are strongly discouraged but not banned. People should stay in their own communities, Dr. Henry said.

At the same time, going for a walk with a friend is OK, as are things like having grandparents pick up kids at school or for repairs to be done in homes.

The new orders and restrictions stay in place until at least midnight, Dec. 7.

Henry told media earlier today that COVID-19 is being spread through social interactions.

For example, customers are not catching COVID-19 while out dining in restaurants but staff are infecting each other.

In all kinds of other businesses, workers are getting infected by carpooling or gathering too close together in lunch rooms or meetings but are not spreading it to customers.

Indoor and outdoor sporting events are seeing transmission between people gathering before or after events or carpooling so no spectators will be allowed at any of these events.

The restrictions imposed in the Lower Mainland on Nov. 9 now apply to the rest of the province.

Primarily that means no socializing outside immediate household members and no non-essential travel.

Enforcement efforts are being stepped up, especially in the Lower Mainland, so that business will be fined and/or closed if they don’t follow the rules.

Nothing is changing in schools other than special rapid response teams are being created in the Lower Mainland to respond faster to exposure events and outbreaks.

Employers are encouraged to go back to having more staff working from home whenever possible.

All these actions are being taken in response to record setting case numbers that reached a record 762 cases in B.C. yesterday.

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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