Organized indoor and outdoor events in British Columbia may soon return to full capacity to allow those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend, and the province’s chief physician said health officials will monitor the risk.
Provincial Health Official Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that indoor sporting events, concerts, cinemas, symphonies, and other venues with seating can reach 100 percent capacity starting Monday, provided it is verified. proof of vaccination status.
It is one day after the Sunday deadline for residents to be fully vaccinated if they want to attend certain locations.
“So it doesn’t reduce the risk to zero. It means that we are mitigating the risk. We know that the risk of people who are fully vaccinated transmitting the virus and getting sick is much, much lower.”
Henry said that not all residents may be able to safely attend those events, including immunosuppressed individuals who may not feel prepared to be exposed to others in a large group setting. Mask requirements for indoor environments like these are still in place, he said.
Weddings, funeral receptions, and parties can also reach full capacity. Orders to restrict the movement of people in restaurants will also be lifted.
However, officials will monitor the spread of infections because BC hospitals are “overloaded,” Henry added. “Yes, we are watching it closely and I look forward to removing more restrictions as we move forward in the coming months. But it will be a challenge for all of us.”
The rules remain in effect for nightclubs and bars, where socializing is an important part of those settings, he added.
“It doesn’t go as far as having a lot of people dancing,” he said of the continued restrictions.
BC reported 560 new cases Tuesday and five more deaths for a total of 2,086.
The vaccination rate has reached 89.2 percent for those eligible for the first injection and 83.5 percent have received a second dose.
Hockey games, weddings, concerts in BC come back 100 percent to be fully vaccinated. #BCPoli # COVID19
To attend events or venues, anyone who is 12 years or older will need to present their vaccination card showing that they have been fully vaccinated. The Sunday deadline requires that anyone attending those settings have been fully vaccinated for at least seven days.
Bridgitte Anderson, executive director of the Greater Vancouver Board of Commerce, called the changes a “critical step” toward the recovery of the hospitality and tourism sector.
The Vancouver Canucks said in a statement Tuesday that the announcement was “great news” and said the team is looking forward to the first game of the season at home next Tuesday.
Henry said capacity limits will remain in effect where regional orders exist, including the eastern Fraser Valley and parts of the northern and interior health regions.
He also referred to COVID-19 in schools, where he said the province is experiencing transmission rates and numbers of schools affected similar to last year.
“Most infections, the source of infections, for school-age children occur outside of the classroom,” Henry said.
A new report from the Provincial Health Services Authority, posted on the BC Center for Disease Control website, examined the impact of the virus during the start of the BC 2021-22 school year.
“Serious outcomes from COVID-19 infections remain rare among all school-age children in British Columbia,” the report says. “Among children 12 to 17 years old who are eligible to be vaccinated, hospitalization is less common in youth who have at least one dose of the vaccine compared to those who are not vaccinated.”
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix also shared their frustration with efforts to crack down on companies that violate COVID-19 safety rules.
“We are disappointed to be in this place because the health authorities, as you can imagine, are incredibly busy,” said Dix.
The Fraser Health Authority is seeking an injunction against a restaurant in Hope that has refused to follow COVID-19 health protocols.
“It shows people that they don’t respect their neighbors, they don’t respect their business neighbors, they don’t respect their community,” Henry said of the restaurant.
Dix said he understands that other companies may be frustrated by the delay in punishing the offending business, but the government is committed to cracking down on those who refuse to follow health orders.
This Canadian Press report was first published on October 19, 2021.