While BC’s state of emergency was recently extended for two more weeks, the province hinted it could be ended even sooner if COVID-19 numbers continue to improve.
In a media release Tuesday, the province extended the state emergency through the end of the day on July 6th, however, also alluded that this could be the last extension.
Since the pandemic was declared on March 18th, 2020, the province has been under a state of emergency for one year, three months, and 18 days.
The state of emergency allowed the BC’s health and emergency management officials to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support the COVID-19 pandemic response.
BC is currently in Step 2 of the restart plan and is expected to switch to Step 3 as early as July 1st, which will see the following:
- Provincial state of emergency and public health emergency lifted
- Returning to usual for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings
- Increased capacity for indoor and outdoor organized gatherings, with safety plans
- Nightclubs and casinos reopened with capacity limits and safety plans
New public health and workplace guidance around personal protective equipment, physical distancing, and business protocols.
The criteria for moving to Step 3 is at least 70% of the 18+ population vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine – which the province has already surpassed – along with declining case counts and COVID-19 hospitalizations.
In a statement, Premier John Horgan said, “Better days are within reach this summer, but we need to carefully guard our progress against COVID-19.”
“People in B.C. have been doing their part by getting vaccinated, following the rules and working together to put the pandemic behind us. I’m asking everyone to stay on track through Step 2 of our restart so we can look forward to the opportunities that come with Step 3.”
As of Tuesday, 77.7% of all adults and 76.2% of those 12 and older have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in BC. 23.2% of the adult population is fully vaccinated.
There are currently 1,150 active cases in BC, with 28 of those being in the Island Health region.