Provincial and regional restrictions

Provincial restrictions are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions are made by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) under the Public Health Act.

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Last updated: January 20, 2022

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PHO order on masks in public indoor settings

This content is a summary of the PHO order — Face Coverings (PDF, 440KB) document. It is not legal advice and does not provide an interpretation of the law. In the event of any conflict or difference between this webpage and the order, the order is correct and legal and must be followed. 

Masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people born in 2017 or earlier (5+). 

This includes:

  • Malls and shopping centres
  • Areas of office buildings where services to the public are provided
  • Common areas of sport and fitness centres when not engaged in physical activity
  • Common areas of post-secondary institutions and non-profit organizations
  • Inside schools, including all K to 12 students and staff
  • Drug stores
  • Community centres
  • Recreation centres
  • City Halls
  • Restaurants, pubs and bars when not seated at a table
  • Events happening under the Gatherings and Events order

There are exemptions for:

  • People with health conditions or with physical, cognitive or mental impairments who cannot wear one
  • People who cannot remove a mask on their own
  • Children under the age of 5
  • People who need to remove their masks to communicate due to another person's hearing impairment

A face shield is not a substitute for a mask as it has an opening below the mouth. 


PHO order on gatherings and events

This content is a summary of the verbal PHO orders on gatherings and events. It is not legal advice and does not provide an interpretation of the law. In the event of any conflict or difference between this webpage and the order, the order is correct and legal and must be followed. 

Personal gatherings

Indoor personal gatherings

Indoor personal gatherings at your home or vacation accommodation are limited to your household plus 10 visitors or 1 other household. 

Everyone 12+ must be fully vaccinated.

Outdoor personal gatherings

There are no restrictions for outdoor personal gatherings.

It's encouraged to keep personal gatherings as small as possible and stick to the same group of people.

Organized gatherings

Indoor organized gatherings

Indoor organized gatherings of any size are not allowed. Examples include:

  • Sponsored or ticketed parties, celebrations
  • Wedding and funeral receptions

Outdoor organized gatherings

Outdoor organized seated gatherings can have a capacity of 5,000 people or 50% capacity, whichever is greater.

For example, if the venue has a normal seated capacity of 30,000 people, 15,000 people can attend. 

Indoor events at venues

Indoor events at venues can only have 50% capacity, no matter the size. Examples of indoor events at venues include:

  • Concerts, theatre, dance and symphony performances
  • Sports events and movies
  • Lectures, presentations and workshops
  • Sponsored and ticketed events

Everyone must be fully vaccinated to attend.

Organized gatherings by sector

 

Casinos can operate at 50% seated capacity, including gaming positions. Food and liquor services at casinos must follow the rules for food and liquor serving premises.

 

Fairs, festivals and trade shows

Fairs, festivals and trade shows are limited to 50% capacity with a COVID-19 safety plan.

 

Worship services

If all participants are vaccinated as determined by the worship service leader, there are no capacity restrictions on worship services and choirs.

If participants are not all vaccinated, worship services and choirs are limited to 50% seated capacity.


Masks are required but can be temporarily removed for ceremonial eating and drinking, and by officiants, readers or for singing a solo where physical distancing is observed.

A workplace that has workers testing positive for COVID-19 and public health confirming transmission has occurred in the work environment may be ordered to close for a minimum of 10 days.

For larger workplaces, the closure may be restricted to the locations where transmission has occurred.

Exceptions will be made for workplaces like:

  • Courthouses, police stations and fire halls
  • Healthcare facilities, schools, shelters
  • Ferry system and public transportation
  • Distribution hubs of necessary goods such as food and medicine

Additional safety precautions are required in higher risk workplaces. 

 

Exercise and fitness

Adult indoor individual, group fitness or exercise activities and adult dance classes and activities are allowed with increased safety protocols and capacity limits, including:

  • Capacity based on 7m2 of floor space per person for both individual and group fitness and exercise classes
    • In addition to floor space, all group fitness and exercise classes have a capacity limit of 25 people
  • Masks worn at all times, except when actively exercising. We strongly encourage people wear a mask even when exercising
  • Pre-bookings for drop-in individual fitness where operationally possible
  • Scanning proof of vaccination QR codes for entry

Programs specifically for children and youth are allowed. 

Fitness and exercise facilities must follow Indoor Exercise, Fitness, and Dance Class Facility COVID-19 Guidance – January 19, 2022 (PDF, 383KB).

Swimming pools

Swimming pools can operate at 50% capacity. Public swimming pools must scan proof of vaccination QR codes for entry. Pools at hotels and apartments can stay open.

Activities that take place in swimming pools are allowed. For example, aquafit, lane swim and group classes.

Sports

Sport tournaments are not allowed. Tournaments are single or multi-day events where 3 or more teams compete against each other outside of regular league play. This restriction does not include:

  • A gathering where team members compete individually against each other
  • A gathering where the result will decide if a team will advance to play in a national or international competition

Other sport activities that normally take place in a sport environment can continue, including:

  • Participating in an adult indoor sport or recreation program as long as it does not exceed 50% of the occupancy of the space
  • Participating or competing in individual sports like skiing, swimming or skating
  • Competing in regular league play for individual or team sport

Other requirements for sport include:

  • Masks are required indoors when not participating in a sport
  • Proof of vaccination is required for spectators and adult participants at indoor sporting events
  • Non-employee supervisors, coaches and assistants of indoor sports and group activities for people 21 years or younger must be fully vaccinated

Travel for sport

Travel to other provinces or countries is not recommended.

High performance athletes

High performance athletes who have a Canadian Sport Institute Pacific designation are exempt. They can train, travel or compete in accordance with their sport association's COVID-19 safety protocols.


PHO order on restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs

This content is a summary of the PHO order — Food and Liquor Serving Premises (PDF, 481KB) document. It is not legal advice and does not provide an interpretation of the law. In the event of any conflict or difference between this webpage and the order, the order is correct and legal and must be followed. 

Places that do not offer full meal service must close. This includes places like bars, nightclubs and lounges that do not serve meals.

Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed when following physical distancing requirements and other rules:

  • A maximum of 6 people at a table
  • Two metres or physical barriers between tables
  • Customers must stay seated and cannot move between or visit other tables
  • No dancing
  • Normal liquor service hours
  • Masks are required when not seated at a table

Restaurants, cafes and pubs must scan proof of vaccination QR codes for entry.


Regional restrictions by health authority

Some health authorities have restrictions for regions with lower vaccination rates. Orders are made by a region's Medical Health Officer. Follow regional restrictions in addition to the province-wide restrictions.

Northern Health has restrictions in place for all communities.

Personal gatherings

All people ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated.

  • Indoor personal gatherings are limited to your household occupants plus up to 10 visitors or one other household
  • Outdoor gatherings are limited to your household occupants, plus up to 25 people

People who are not fully vaccinated can only gather with their own household.

Organized gatherings

Indoor seated events are limited to 50% capacity. All people aged 12 and older must be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination. Masks are required.

Outdoor events with more than 25 people are limited to 50% capacity.

Faith gatherings

Worship services and choirs are limited to 50% seated capacity. All people aged 12 and older must be fully vaccinated. Masks are required.

People do not need to be fully vaccinated to attend virtual or drive-in services.

Restaurants, bars and nightclubs

Masks are required when not seated at a table.

Fast food restaurants and unlicensed cafés without table service can either:

  • Provide take-out service only
  • Require all patrons to show proof of vaccination

Licensed establishments, establishments that offer table service, and liquor manufacturing facilities with tasting rooms without full meal service:

  • Cannot serve alcohol between 10 pm and 9 am
  • Must require all patrons to show proof of vaccination

Bars and nightclubs that do not offer full meal service must close.

Sports

Indoor and outdoor sporting events are limited to 50% spectator capacity and must have a COVID-19 safety plan. All spectators aged 5 and older must wear a mask, and all spectators aged 12 and older must show proof of full vaccination. 

All participants aged 22 and older must be fully vaccinated.

Travel

Non-essential travel outside your community is strongly discouraged.



Guidance for visiting long-term care or seniors' assisted living facilities

This content is a summary of the verbal PHO orders on residential care. It is not legal advice and does not provide an interpretation of the law. In the event of any conflict or difference between this webpage and the order, the order is correct and legal and must be followed. 

Only essential visitors are allowed at long-term care facilities.

  • Essential visits include visits for compassionate reasons, such as end-of-life care or those essential to a resident’s care and mental well-being
  • Contact the long-term care facility to find out if you qualify as an essential visitor

All visitors are allowed at seniors' assisted living facilities.

Larger, facility-wide social events or gatherings, adult day programs and in-facility respite are allowed.

  • Indoor gatherings may include residents and staff across units of a facility
  • Outdoor gatherings may include family and friends

Protecting long-term care residents

All visitors must show proof of vaccination before visiting a long-term care or seniors' assisted-living facility.

All visitors who are 12 years of age and older must also complete rapid point-of-care testing at the entrance.

Safety precautions like hand hygiene and physical distancing will continue.

Before your visit, review BCCDC information for Visitors in Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Assisted Living (PDF, 661KB).

When to wear a mask at long-term care facilities

  • All visitors must wear medical masks in hallways and common areas
  • You can only remove your mask when visiting residents in their living area if you're fully vaccinated

Enforcement

During a public health emergency under the Public Health Act, the PHO can make orders as needed. You must follow the orders. Some orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don't follow these orders could be fined.