BC health officials have ordered all indoor gyms and fitness facilities to close at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, December 22nd  — including shared facilities in condo and apartment complexes — due to the potential they create for the spread of COVID-19.

The announcement was made during a live press conference Tuesday afternoon by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

The new orders are in addition to the restrictions introduced last week.

The orders are meant to curb transmission of the virus throughout the holidays, will remain in effect throughout the month of January.

Similar to the rest of the country, the province is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases as the Omicron variant becomes dominant.

The following restrictions will take effect at at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, December 22nd  until at least January 18th, 2022.

  • gyms and fitness centres will be closed
  • dance studios will closed
  • sports tournaments cancelled

In addition to the closures, all seated events, no matter the size of the venue must operate at 50% capacity, this includes concerts, sports games such as hockey for example, theatres, and movie theatres etc.

All organized events are required to scan the BC vaccine card and everyone must wear a mask during the event.

Other orders coming into effect also include the cancellation of all organized indoor events of any size such as weddings, receptions, and celebratory events. Bars and nightclubs must remain closed and restaurants, cafes and pubs must revert back to only allowing a maximum of six people per table.

New restrictions on events and personal gatherings took effect Monday. 

In addition to the provincial health officer orders, the province is urging BC residents to limit indoor gatherings to those who are fully vaccinated, to ensure proper ventilation indoors, to avoid all travel if not fully vaccinated.

BC averaged over 800 new COVID-19 cases per day over the weekend.

As of this publication, there are now 5,435 active cases in the province.

Currently, the following restrictions are in effect:

  • Indoor personal gatherings, including in rental and vacation properties are now limited to one household plus 10 other individuals, or one additional household, but only if all in attendance are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated people should not be permitted
  • The province is now requiring all events of any size to scan BC Vaccine Card – the QR code must be scanned at all events
  • As in the past, movement between tables at food establishments like restaurants will be restricted and masks wearing when not seated must be enforced
  • Large events and concerts with over 1,000 people in attendance, such as Victoria Royals games, will operate at 50% capacity.
  • All sports tournaments in BC are to be suspended
  • All New Year’s Eve gatherings and events will be restricted to being seated-only events, with no mingling or dancing allowed

The provincial health officer is also emphasizing the need for retail stores to have COVID-19 safety plans in place for holiday and Boxing Day sales.

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