BC lifts COVID-19 capacity limits in meetings for much of the province | The Canadian News

British Columbia is poised to lift capacity restrictions on gatherings across much of the province on Monday, though some say not everyone will be ready to party like early 2020 while still wearing a mask.

Residents of parts of the province will be allowed to attend events such as hockey games, concerts, and weddings with no limit on the number, but capacity will be limited to 50 percent in areas where vaccination rates are low, including parts from Fraser, Northern and Inland Sanitary Regions.

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Attendees of all events hosted in British Columbia will be required to wear face covers and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

The move was eagerly anticipated by businesses, including those that require reservations well in advance for events such as weddings.

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Harpal Sooch, owner of the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey, said he is cautiously optimistic about a rebound in business, even as most of the large banquets were canceled and will not continue until next summer.

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“This is my bread and butter for myself and my family. Same for my partner, and the same for all banquet halls which are mostly family run. We were closed for 15 months, ”he said about the toll on his finances.

Sooch said the hall has been booked for two upcoming Diwali gatherings, one next Saturday and another two weeks later, and she hopes the business will start to prosper again as more people get back to socializing as usual.

But Sooch said not everyone is ready for pre-pandemic-type parties while they still need to wear masks, especially older people awaiting booster shots and families with children under 12 who can’t yet get vaccinated.

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“They are not getting into it. But hopefully everything continues like this for next summer we will be fine, “he said. “That is what we are waiting for.”

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Heidi Tworek, a professor who specializes in health communications at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, said employers, companies expecting more customers, and even people who invite someone to dinner should wait a variety of reactions due to lack of contact with people after almost two years will have affected the mental health of some people.

“Sometimes there is a grassroots assumption that everyone is eager to immediately return to full capacity,” he said, adding that while most people will have to get used to meeting other people outside their usual circle of contacts, people with an anxiety disorder will have a harder time being around people they don’t know.

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People with specific health concerns in particular can ask about ventilation improvements in buildings, including their workplace, to feel safe, so providing that information while being patient and flexible will be crucial, Tworek said.

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“There are many people who are immunosuppressed or who have other reasons to be concerned, who feel there is no transparency,” he said, noting that parents of school-age children in the Vancouver area spearheaded their own efforts to document and share COVID- 19. exhibits so families can decide to keep their child at home to protect the elderly or sick.

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Government announcements on reopens should include messages for people who are reluctant to resume activities while the pandemic is ongoing, Tworek said.

The day after capacity limits are lifted, British Columbia will require all healthcare workers in the province to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, after the October 12 deadline for employees in long-care facilities. term and assisted living.

Provincial health official Dr. Bonnie Henry has said she expanded her order to all healthcare settings in part to prevent unvaccinated staff working with older people from jumping to work elsewhere.

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