Q&A: What you can (and still can’t) do when B.C. lifts more COVID-19 restrictions on July 1

Here are the answers to some of the key questions around restrictions that have been lifted, and those that haven’t:

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B.C. Premier John Horgan gave the green light to the July 1 third step of the province’s COVID-19 restart plan on Tuesday, lifting an array of restrictions that had been imposed on British Columbians during three waves of the pandemic.

Here are the answers to some of the key questions around restrictions that have been lifted, and those that haven’t:

Q — Nightclubs are reopening, what’s the party going to look like?

A — Well, for starters you can’t dance — which may defeat the purpose for some — but you can gather in groups of up to 10 at tables. Don’t expect to make new friends though, as there is to be no intermingling between tables. The most people allowed inside each club is 50, or half of the permitted capacity.

Q — I want to go to my friend’s house to meet up with a group of other friends to watch game two of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night. Is that OK?

A — Yes, it’s OK now to gather with friends indoors or outdoors with no restrictions. Enjoy yourself, but wash your hands, and if you and your friends are vaccinated that would be best. As provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry put it on Tuesday, “it is up to us to decide who we have in our home now” and not the government.


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Q — I’m getting tired of working from home in my pyjamas relying on Zoom to network and I miss my colleagues. Are things back to normal at work now?

A — No. The fourth and final stage of the restart plan is set for Sept. 7 and only then will you see fully reopened offices and workplaces. Until then, a return to work is something being negotiated at different workplaces and subject to an approved WorkSafeBC plan — and if you are at work only small meetings are permitted.

Q — I noticed online that I can book a return flight from Vancouver to Ottawa for only $250. I’d like to jump on that deal, but is it too early to travel to another province?

A — While there has never been an outright ban on interprovincial travel between B.C. and Ontario during the pandemic, it has not been supported by the provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry until now under step 3. So pack your bags and you’ll find good deals on hotels as well. You will be asked to wear a mask while flying, and really, to be safe, you should double mask.


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Q — I love big crowds, especially outdoors. Is there any chance of that this summer?

A — Absolutely yes. Despite many events — like the Vancouver Folk Festival, the Celebration of Lights and the Shambala Music Festival — being cancelled this summer, anyone organizing an event is free to have as many as 5,000 people gather outdoors. Whether this happens is yet to be seen, but the option is there.

Q — Are spin classes, hot yoga and high intensity group workouts OK now?

A — Yes, as of Canada Day all sport and exercise facilities return to normal, subject to a communicable disease plan. These plans will supersede COVID-19 safety plans that all businesses had previously had to adhere to. These communicable disease plans will focus on hand washing or hand cleaning, hygiene in the workplace, assurance of ventilation and ensuring sick staff don’t come to work.


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Q — My grandparents are both in the same care home. Can I now visit them in the same way I could before the pandemic?

A — No. The province’s restart plan does not include any details on when and how visitations will return to normal for care facilities. On Tuesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix put it this way — “With respect to visitation, you should expect to see even more steps in the coming days, and those are being reviewed right now. But they’re not in sync, just as we lessen or we increase visitation just as we were introducing new restrictions. We’ll be putting those into place, working with long-term care residents, their families and long-term care homes.”

So in a nutshell: wait and see.



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