Province-Wide Restrictions Plan

Last updated: October 19, 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 BC Government website for full details on BC’s province-wide restrictions.


Regional Restrictions by Health Authority

Some health authorities have additional restrictions in place for regions with lower vaccination rates.

Orders are made by a region’s Medical Health Officer:

  • Fraser Health has restrictions in place for the Fraser East Health Service Delivery Area.
  • Interior Health has restrictions in place for every community in their health authority.
  • Northern Health has restrictions in place for every community in their health authority. Restrictions vary by local health area.

Learn more about the regional restrictions in place.


PHO Order on Masks in Public Indoor Settings

Starting August 25, masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+).

These settings include:

  • Malls, shopping centres, coffee shops, and retail and grocery stores;
  • Liquor and drug stores;
  • Airports, city halls, libraries, community, and recreation centres;
  • Restaurants, pubs, and bars (unless seated);
  • On public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • Areas of office buildings where services to the public are provided;
  • Common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity;
  • Common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations; and
  • Inside schools for all K-12 staff, visitors, and students in grades 4-12.

Masks may be removed temporarily in indoor public places:

  • To identify the individual wearing the mask
  • To consume food or beverage at a location designated for this purpose
  • While participating in a sport or fitness activity in a sport facility
  • While receiving a personal or health service that requires the mask to be removed.

There are exemptions in place 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

For the purposes of this order, a mask or face covering is defined as a medical or non-medical mask that covers the nose and mouth. Face shields are not a substitute for a mask, as there is an opening below the mouth.

Masks are not recommended for children under the age of two, but should be encouraged for children aged two to 12 in public settings.

Note: The order will be reassessed when proof of vaccination and BC’s vaccine card are fully implemented.


PHO on Gathering and Events

Personal Gatherings

There are no restrictions on indoor or outdoor personal gatherings.

People who live in Interior Health must follow regional personal gathering restrictions.

Organized Gatherings

Organized gatherings have some capacity restrictions. Examples of organized gatherings include wedding ceremonies or funerals.

People who live in Interior Health must follow regional organized gathering restrictions.

Indoor Organized Gatherings

Indoor organized seated gatherings can have a capacity of 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater.

For example, if the venue has a normal seated capacity of 500 people, 250 people can attend.

Outdoor Organized Gatherings

Outdoor organized seated gatherings can have a capacity of 5,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater.

For example, if the venue has a normal seated capacity of 30,000 people, 15,000 people can attend.

Outdoor Gatherings by Sector

Fairs, festivals, trade shows and stand up receptions can return to normal operations with a communicable disease plan.
There are no capacity limits or restrictions on indoor or outdoor and worship services.
A workplace that has workers testing positive for COVID-19 and public health confirming transmission has occurred in the work environment may be ordered to close for a minimum of 10 days. For larger workplaces, the closure may be restricted to the locations where transmission has occurred. Exceptions will be made for workplaces like:
  • Courthouses, police stations and fire halls
  • Healthcare facilities, schools, shelters
  • Ferry system and public transportation
  • Distribution hubs of necessary goods such as food and medicine

Workplaces will transition from a COVID-19 Safety Plan to a communicable disease plan. Additional safety precautions are required in higher-risk workplaces.


PHO on Restaurants, Pubs, and Bars

Businesses will transition from a COVID-19 Safety Plan to a communicable disease plan.

People who live in Interior Health must follow regional restaurant, bar and casino restrictions.

Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Nightclubs

There are no group limits for indoor and outdoor dining:

  • Venues can determine their own table limits
  • No socializing between tables
  • No dancing
  • Liquor service hours return to normal

Casinos

Casinos can operate with reduced capacity. Gaming stations can operate at approximately 50% capacity across the sector.


Exercise and Sports

Indoor High-Intensity and Low-Intensity Group Exercise

Indoor high intensity and low-intensity group exercises are allowed with normal capacity.

People who live in Interior Health must follow regional exercise restrictions.

Gyms and Recreation Facilities

Gyms, pools, and recreation facilities can operate with normal capacity.

Adult and Youth Outdoor and Indoor Group and Team Sports

All outdoor and indoor group sports for adults and youth are allowed. This includes:

  • Games
  • Competitions
  • Practices

Sport Spectators

Outdoor sport activities can have 5,000 spectators or 50% seated capacity, whichever is greater. For example, if the venue has a normal seated capacity of 30,000 people, 15,000 spectators can attend.

Indoor sport activities can have 50 spectators or 50% seated capacity, whichever is greater. For example, if the venue has a normal seated capacity of 500 people, 250 spectators can attend.

Travel for Sport

Travel for sport is allowed


Guidance for Visiting Long-Term Care or Seniors’ Assisted Living Facilities

Larger, facility-wide social events or gatherings, adult day programs and in-facility respite are allowed.

  • Indoor gatherings may include residents and staff across units of a facility
  • Outdoor gatherings may include family and friends

You do not need to schedule an appointment to visit residents in long-term care or seniors’ assisted living facilities. There is no limit to the number of visitors for each resident.

Protecting Long-Term Care Residents

All visitors should be fully vaccinated before visiting a long-term care or seniors’ assisted-living facility. You’re fully vaccinated 7 days after dose 2.

Safety precautions like visitor health screening, hand hygiene and physical distancing will continue.

When to Wear a mask at Long-Term Care Facilities

  • All visitors must wear medical masks in hallways and common areas
  • You can only remove your mask when visiting residents in their living area if you’re fully vaccinated
  • You will need to show your paper immunization record card or your online immunization record on Health Gateway (available 48 hours after your vaccination appointment)


Enforcement

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

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

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