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UPDATE: Small outdoor gatherings now allowed in B.C.

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
March 11, 2021 - 2:01 PM

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are now allowed in B.C.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that amendment to her public health order at a news briefing today, March 11. No other changes to her orders were made so restrictions on indoor gatherings and rules for restaurants, bars, retail stores and other venues remain in place.

It’s a small step towards easing COVID-19 restrictions as vaccines are rolling out, but daily case counts are high and more infections are coming from variants of concern.

“This is slowly turning the dial, not flicking the switch,” Dr. Henry said.

READ MORE: 569 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C.; 26 in Interior Health

The virus doesn’t spread as easily outdoors or in the spring weather, she said. Most of the new cases are coming from small indoor social gatherings along with workers slipping up on their COVID precautions in the workplace.

While Dr. Henry didn’t put any restrictions on who people can socialize with outdoors, she did suggest that school children only meet with friends from within their school cohorts.

She also suggested that people still keep their distance from each other.

“If you’re seeing a grandparent who has yet to be immunized, keep your distances, wear your mask,” Dr. Henry said.

Kicking a soccer ball around, having a picnic or a backyard barbecue are fine, but keeping safe distances and absolutely staying outdoors is essential, she said.

Along with this small easing of restrictions comes a ban on liquor sales, both for on-site and off-site consumption, for St. Patrick’s Day.

That means, no liquor sales from 8 p.m. March 17 to 9 a.m. on March 18, similar to what was done on New Years Eve.

— This story was updated March 11, 2021 at 2:54 p.m. to add more information about who can socialize outdoors.

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