BC is moving ahead with Stage 3 of their reopening plan starting on June 30th at 11:59 p.m.
The province will lift COVID-19 restrictions this week, moving forward with Step 3 of the BC Restart Plan, signaling an end to the longest provincial state of emergency in BC’s history.
The province said that the public health emergency will remain in effect during Step 3 to support amended, but reduced, public health orders.
Premier John Horgan, Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Minister Ravi Kahlon, made the announcement on Tuesday, June 29th.
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth will lift the provincial state of emergency which has been in place since March 2020.
This means that beginning July 1st, health orders will be recommended, not directed.
Premier Horgan also reported 29 new cases of COVID-19 in BC for Tuesday, June 29th with seven new cases in Fraser Health — a health authority that has seen increased COVID-19 transmission throughout the pandemic.
The province was optimistic about moving forward with Step 3 due to the dramatic drop in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths and having 80% of BC immunized with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Here’s what will change:
Capacities will change for venues with 50% capacity allowed inside, and a capacity of 5,000 people or 50% capacity outdoors.
Nightclubs and casinos will be welcome to reopen with capacity limits and safety plans.
Minister Ravi Kahlon, said that COVID-19 business safety plans will now be replaced with communicable disease prevention plans.
Capacity limits, formal health screening tests and directional arrows, as well as other physical distancing measures will no longer be required.
There will be no more seat table limits at restaurants, although going to visit another table is still not recommended.
Outdoor and indoor gatherings restrictions have also changed which include:
Venues: 50% capacity allowed
Outdoor venues: 5,000 capacity
Religious ceremonies: order lifted
Pubs/Restaurants: no limit on table.
Gatherings in Step 3 of #BCRestartPlan:
Personal gatherings/weddings: order lifted.
Venues: 50% capacity allowed.
Outdoor venues: 5,000 capacity,
Religious ceremonies: order lifted.
— Ryan Hook (@ryanhookwrites) June 29, 2021
As of today, in-person media briefings will end for Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.
BC will now be able to welcome people across the country, particularly those who are immunized, said Dr. Henry.
Sports and activities will resume as normal.
Mask wearing will be recommended for those who are not fully immunized, but Henry maintained how important it is to wear masks inside if one is not fully-vaccinated.
Step 4 of BC’s Restart Plan:
Step 4 of the Restart Plan is intended to go into effect on September 7th and will see a return to normal social contact and increased gatherings, with businesses operating with new safety protocols.
With Canada seeing COVID-19 numbers drop, it’s still yet to be acknowledged whether Step 4 could come sooner than we hoped.
Here’s a further breakdown of BC’s Restart Plan: