Things are beginning to return to “normal” as BC health officials announce the lifting of many of the remaining COVID-19 mandates in the province.
Many of the remaining mandates, including wearing a face mask at indoor public places, will lift after midnight tonight, while the BC Vaccine Card program will remain until April 8th.
The announcement was made by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix this afternoon.
While these safety measures against COVID-19 will no longer be enforced, businesses, events, and gatherings can still implement these tools if they choose to do so.
Here’s everything you need to know about the current health orders that were lifted and what’s still in place.
Effective Friday, March 11th, at 12:01 a.m, the following will be lifted:
- Face masks will no longer be required in public spaces
- Overnight child and youth camp order lifted
- Faith gathering capacity limits lifted
In addition, daycares and schools from k-12 will see revisions made to their safety protocols after spring break. Masks will no longer be required for students.
Visitations to long-term care homes will also return to normal next Friday.
BC Health officials also announced the scrapping of the province’s vaccine card requirement next month, earlier than expected.
Effective Friday, April 8th at 12:01 a.m., British Columbians will no longer have to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in public settings.
The vaccine card program, which launched last September, requires those 12 and up attending events, gyms or restaurants to have a vaccine card and photo ID ready to be checked and scanned before entry.
In place to “address and mitigate risks,” the program helps keep certain businesses and activities open amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Bonnie Henry.
In late January, the provincial health officer announced vaccine cards would stay in place until June 30th. However, Henry did say health officials would look to “make adjustments earlier.”
- BC Health officials announce face masks will no longer be required in public spaces
- BC lifting COVID-19 vaccine card requirement next month
Come April 8th, BC businesses can start transitioning from a COVID-19 safety plan to a communicable disease plan, health officials say. That’s also when the province’s post-secondary residence vaccine requirement is being lifted.
The upcoming changes arrive as case numbers and hospitalization rates fall.
BC’s COVID-19 update for Wednesday saw the province’s Ministry of Health announce 274 new cases of the virus—including 77 in Island Health, a region that accounted for five of the 14 additional deaths.
There are currently 405 people in hospital with the virus, 58 of whom are in critical care—ICU or acute care units.
The latest update also noted 93.7% of all adults living in the province were vaccinated with one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 91.3% were vaccinated with two doses.
With files from Ethan Morneau and Mariah Burchell