Province-Wide Restrictions Plan

Last updated: March 29, 2021

Provincial restrictions are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Some restrictions are made by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) under the Public Health Act and others are made under the Emergency Program Act (EPA). Most orders can be enforced by police and compliance and enforcement officials.

Scroll down to find information on the following:

Visit the B.C. Government website for full details on B.C.’s province-wide restrictions.


Latest Updates

PHO Order Updates – March 29, 2021

Earlier today, B.C. Provincial Health Officer, Bonnie Henry, made several substantial announcements regarding new restrictions in an attempt to cut down on COVID-19 transmission.

B.C. is now implementing a three-week “circuit breaker,” which introduces sweeping new restrictions on indoor dining, group fitness activities, worship services, and more.

All new public health orders go into effect tonight at midnight and will be in place until Monday, April 19.

A summary of the new restrictions can be found below:

  • Restaurant indoor dining services are suspended
    • In-person dining remains permitted on outdoor patios.
    • All food and liquor-serving premises must only provide takeout and delivery service.
  • The previous amendment and variance for limited indoor worship services have been suspended.
    • Outdoor worship services under the current variance may continue.
  • Indoor group fitness activities are now prohibited.
    • The individual use of exercise machines, along with indoor one-on-one personal training, is still permitted with safety plans in place.
    • Outdoor group fitness classes are also permitted, as long as safety plans are in place.
  • Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work, or medical reasons only.
    • Workers are continued to be strongly encouraged to work from home whenever possible, as much as possible.
  • B.C. will be suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine over the next few days, for individuals who are 55 and younger,
  • The public health guidance for schools has been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school.
  • The Whistler-Blackcomb ski resort is now closed.

Social Visitors Allowed in Long-Term Care – March 25, 2021

Family and friends will be able to safely visit and spend time with their loved ones in long-term care and assisted living facilities more regularly, with the easing of long-term care visitation rules on April 1, 2021. However, all social visits still need to be scheduled in advance.

Eased restrictions include:

  • Removing the requirement for a single designated social visitor to allow for additional family and friends to visit long-term care and assisted living residents.
  • Expanding the number of visitors so up to two visitors, plus a child, will be allowed to visit at a time, allowing people to connect in small groups.
  • Changing the allowable location of visits so family and friends can visit in residents’ rooms without staff present.
  • Allowing physical touch between visitors and residents, provided appropriate infection prevention and control measures, like masks and hand hygiene, are in place.

For more information on social visitors in long-term care, refer to the PowerPoint on easing long-term care restrictions from the Government of B.C. here.

Increased Fines for Gatherings and Events – March 25, 2021

Effectively immediately, COVID-19 rule-breakers who promote or attend a non-compliant gathering or event will face a fine of $575, up from $230.

The current fine for those who organize or host a prohibited event remains the same at $2,300.

Learn more about violation tickets for unsafe COVID-19 here.


PHO on Gathering and Events

Easing Restrictions: Amendments and Variances to the Order

Religious worship services may be held outdoors (including in open-sided tents and under overhead coverings):
  • People must not gather or socially engage, before, during, and after the service.
  • Up to 50 people may attend, plus 2 extra people to make sure rules are followed.
  • Participants must be 2 metres apart unless they live in the same private residence.
  • Drive-in worship events can continue to operate.
    • No more than 50 vehicles may be present, and people who attend in a vehicle must remain in the vehicle.
  • Musical groups of up to 5 musicians may perform.
  • The only people who can sing are soloists and worship leaders.
  • The only people who can chant are worship leaders.
Masks are required at all times by everyone in attendance.
  • Masks can only be removed by soloists (when singing), worship leaders (when speaking, singing, or chanting), readers (when reading out loud), or musicians who need to do so to play their instrument.
    • They must maintain 3 metres of spacing or use a physical barrier.
  • Masks are not required for:
    • People who can’t wear a mask due to a condition or impairment.
    • Kids under the age of 12.
Organizers must:
  • Collect information for contract tracing.
  • Supply hand sanitizer.
  • Caution those at risk, including seniors and those with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems, from attending.
Learn more about the variance on outdoor worship services here.
Up to 10 people can now gather outdoors. However, do not gather with several groups of new people. Instead, stick to the same group of up to 10 people.

When gathering, continue to use COVID-19 layers of protection and maintain physical distancing.

All restrictions for indoor gatherings remain in place:
  • No indoor gatherings of any size are allowed.
  • Patios and outdoor areas at restaurants, pubs, and bars are not included as places to gather with 10 people at one table.

Gatherings Inside Residences or Vacation Accommodations

No social gatherings of any size are allowed inside your residence with anyone other than your household or, if you live alone, your core bubble.

For most people, their core bubble is their immediate household.

An immediate household is a group of people who live in the same residence. For example:
  • If you have a rental suite in your home, the suite is a separate residence
  • If you live in an apartment or house with roommates, you are all members of the same household
For people who live alone, a core bubble is a maximum of two people you see regularly.
The order does not impact arrangements where children are occupants of two separate households.

Children may go back and forth between the two residences.
For those who rely on a family member or close friends for support with things like picking up children after school or delivering essential items like mail, medication or groceries, these activities can continue.
Welcoming your child home from university is okay. This is not a social gathering.
People who live alone may have up to two visitors inside their residence for a social purpose; these are the two people in your core bubble.

If those two people regularly interact with each other, they may visit the residence of the person who lives alone at the same time

People who live alone may also visit one other residence with more than one occupant.

Activities Allowed Under the Order

These activities are not considered a social gathering:

  • Going for a walk or hike
  • Parents carpooling kids to and from school
  • Grandparents providing child care
  • Public pools and public skating rinks, when not associated with an event, are allowed to continue to operate with a COVID-19 Safety Plan

Gatherings and Events by Sector

Cultural events and gatherings are prohibited.
Drive-In Events
Drive-in events may proceed with a limited number of people.

Drive-in events can have a maximum of 50 cars in attendance.

People must stay in their cars and should attend with their household or core bubble.

Drive-in events must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.
Drop-Off Events
Drop-off events may proceed with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.
  • All drive-in and drop-off events must: Maintain physical distancing
  • Control the entry and exit points
  • Avoid the congestion of cars and congregating of people
The order restricts most formal in-person meetings outside the workplace, with some exceptions including:
  • The B.C. legislature and cabinet meetings
  • City council meetings. It is recommended virtual meetings be held as much as possible. The public is not allowed to attend
  • Support groups like Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous
  • Critical service meetings
Indoor baptisms, funerals, and weddings may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 10 people attend, including the officiant. Review BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) information on event planning.
Indoor in-person religious gatherings and worship services of any size are prohibited. Religious services can continue using remote or virtual attendance options.

You can still visit your place of worship for individual activities such as guidance from spiritual leaders, contemplation, or personal prayer.

Religious leaders may attend the home of a member of their religious community to provide religious services to the occupant.

You can attend an outdoor religious gathering.
Meals for people in need may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.

You can have a maximum of 50 people in attendance in addition to the organizer and people assisting.

Review BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) information on food banks and food distribution.
Funerals conducted by a religious body may be held outdoors (including in open-sided tents and under overhead coverings):
  • People must not gather or socially engage, before, during, and after the funeral service,
  • Up to 50 people may attend, plus 2 extra people to make sure rules are followed.
Religious worship services may be held outdoors (including in open-sided tents and under overhead coverings):
  • People must not gather or socially engage, before, during, and after the service.
  • Up to 50 people may attend, plus 2 extra people to make sure rules are followed.
  • Participants must be 2 metres apart unless they live in the same private residence.
  • Drive-in worship events can continue to operate.
    • No more than 50 vehicles may be present, and people who attend in a vehicle must remain in the vehicle.
  • Musical groups of up to 5 musicians may perform.
  • The only people who can sing are soloists and worship leaders.
  • The only people who can chant are worship leaders.
Masks are required at all times by everyone in attendance.
  • Masks can only be removed by soloists (when singing), worship leaders (when speaking, singing, or chanting), readers (when reading out loud), or musicians who need to do so to play their instrument.
    • They must maintain 3 metres of spacing or use a physical barrier.
  • Masks are not required for:
    • People who can’t wear a mask due to a condition or impairment.
    • Kids under the age of 12.
Organizers must:
  • Collect information for contract tracing.
  • Supply hand sanitizer.
  • Caution those at risk, including seniors and those with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems, from attending.
Learn more about the variance on outdoor worship services here.
The limited operation of perimeter seating vehicles and buses is permitted, subject to restrictions respecting hours of operation and distancing of passengers.
Rental and home viewings should be restricted to a maximum of six people, subject to each person present being able to keep two metres away from every other person present at all times.
Retail businesses are required to:
  • Establish capacity limits based on 5 square metres of unencumbered space per person
  • Post occupancy limits
  • Where practical, post directional signs to keep people moving in the same direction and not congregating
Employers must review and redouble their efforts on their COVID-19 Safety Plan, remind employees to monitor themselves daily, and toalways stay home if they have symptoms.

Employers must make every effort to provide work from home options.

Workplaces must ensure that all workers and customers maintain an appropriate physical distance and extra care should be taken in small office spaces, break rooms, and kitchens

Review the WorkSafeBC COVID-19 Safety Plan documentation
Structured extracurricular activities and programs for children or youth 21 years of age and younger can continue to operate, under the supervision of an adult, with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.

Structured extracurricular activities and programs for children or youth are subject to a 50 person limit.

Performances, recitals, and demonstrations are not allowed.

Visit the B.C. Government website for full details on B.C.’s PHO order on gatherings and events.


PHO on Restaurants, Pubs, and Bars

All restaurants, pubs, bars, and food courts are closed for indoor dining until April 19, 2021 at midnight while outdoor patio seating and take-out or delivery are allowed.

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, people should only be dining at restaurants with their household. When dining out, you must wear a mask when not at a table.

For people who live alone, they should only be dining with a maximum of two people that they regularly interact with (core bubble).

Restaurants, pubs, and bars can continue to operate if they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place.

WorkSafeBC will be conducting inspections to verify that COVID-19 Safety Plans remain effective. Establishments that are noncompliant with plan requirements may face orders and fines, and possible referral to public health which may result in a closure order.

Review the PHO Order on food and liquor serving premises here.


Exercise

Indoor High Intensity Group Exercise

Indoor high-intensity group exercise is prohibited.

Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high-intensity group exercise must suspend the following activities:

  • Hot yoga
  • Spin classes
  • Aerobics
  • Bootcamp
  • High intensity aspects of circuit training
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT)

Indoor Low-Intensity Group Exercise

Indoor low-intensity group exercise is prohibited until April 19, 2021 at midnight. These include:

  • Yoga (Hatha)
  • Low intensity exercise machines and cardio equipment
  • Pilates
  • Light weightlifting
  • Stretching
  • Tai-Chi
  • Low intensity Barre classes

Gyms and Recreation Facilities

Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan.


EPA Order on Masks in Public Indoor Settings

As outlined in the EPA mask mandate order, masks are required for everyone in many public indoor settings and all retail stores.

This includes:

  • Malls, shopping centres, and clothing stores
  • Drugstores, grocery stores, and liquor stores
  • On public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle
  • Places of worship
  • Common areas of post-secondary institutions, office buildings, courthouses (except courtrooms), hospitals, and hotels
  • Airports, city halls, community centres, libraries, and recreation centres
  • Restaurants, pubs, bars, and coffee shops when not seated at a table
  • Sport or fitness facilities when not working out

There are exemptions for:

  • People with health conditions or with physical, cognitive, or mental impairments who cannot wear one.
  • People who cannot remove a mask on their own.
  • Children under the age of 12.
  • People who need to remove their masks to communicate due to another person’s hearing impairment.

View the EPA Mask Mandate Order here.

Mask Enforcement

A face shield is not a substitute for a mask as it has an opening below the mouth.

You could be subject to a $230 fine if you:

  • Do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless you are exempt
  • Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space
  • Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour

Mask at Workplaces and Shared Living Areas

It is strongly recommended that masks be worn in:

  • Common areas in apartment buildings and condos
  • Shared indoor workplace spaces


Travel Advisory

At this time, all non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province.

What is Essential Travel?

Individual circumstances may affect whether a trip is considered essential or non-essential.

Essential travel within B.C. includes:

  • Regular travel for work within your region
  • Travel for things like medical appointments and hospital visits

If you need to travel for essential reasons, remember to take the same health and safety precautions you do at home.

First Nations Communities

Many First Nations have declared a state of emergency for their communities and enacted COVID-19 community protection by-laws, including travel bans for non-residents and non-essential visitors.

It is important to respect these restrictions in addition to the province-wide travel advisory.

Whistler Blackcomb Closure

The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort is closed until April 19, 2021 at midnight.

Coming From Outside of B.C.

At this time, people travelling to B.C. from another province or territory within Canada should only come for essential reasons.

If you do travel, you are expected to follow the same travel guidelines as everyone else in B.C.

Review B.C.’s current travel restrictions here.


Enforcement

During a public health emergency under the Public Health Act, the PHO can make orders as needed.

Some orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials.

You must follow the orders. Individuals who do not follow these orders could be fined.

Learn more about B.C.’s violation tickets for unsafe COVID-19 behaviour here.