New COVID-19 restrictions in B.C.: Here’s what you can and can’t do over the holidays

A surge of infections due to the Omicron variant means a new round of restrictions go into effect in B.C. from Dec. 20-Jan. 31.

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A new round of COVID-19 restrictions take effect in B.C. on Monday, Dec. 20, amid a surge of a surge in infections and uncertainty due to the Omicron variant of concern.

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The restrictions, which include limits on indoor gatherings and prohibitions of organized New Year’s Eve parties, will remain in place until Jan. 31.

Here’s a look at what you can and can’t do under the new guidelines:

1. You CAN have a holiday party or dinner but you have to keep it small.

Indoor personal gatherings are limited to one household plus 10 guests or one other household — so long as everyone aged 12 and older is vaccinated. This includes gatherings in rental and vacation properties, including resorts.

People who are unvaccinated are advised to stay home and not attend indoor social gatherings.

2. You CAN go to a church service.

There are no changes to rules for churches and other faith gatherings. In-person faith services can operate at full capacity if organizers require proof of vaccination, or at half capacity if not everyone attending the services is vaccinated.

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3. You CAN’T go to an organized New Year’s Eve party but you CAN mark the end of 2021 with dinner at a restaurant.

Health officials have nixed all organized New Year’s Eve parties, regardless of size, warning that these celebrations tend to be “super spreader” events. That’s why the big Bryan Adams New Year’s Eve gig at Rogers Arena was cancelled.

Seated-only events, such as New Year’s Eve dinners at restaurants, can go ahead. Restaurants, pubs and bars are not facing new restrictions on operating hours or liquor restrictions, although patrons will now be required to stay seated at their tables and not mix and mingle with people seated at different tables.

4. You CAN go to see the new Spider-man movie and other theatre and concert events.

But like all indoor organized events, regardless of size, you will be required to show proof of vaccination with the B.C. Vaccine Pass. And owners/organizers are urged to step up scanning of QR codes to ensure the vaccination pass presented is valid.

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