Province-wide restrictions

Provincial restrictions remain in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Some restrictions are made by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) under the Public Health Act and others are made under the Emergency Program Act (EPA). Most orders can be enforced by police and compliance and enforcement officials.

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Last updated: June 15, 2021

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PHO order on gatherings and events

This content is a summary of the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) 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. 

Personal gatherings

Examples of a personal gathering include having friends over to your house or meeting up with friends at a park. 

Outdoor personal gatherings

Up to 50 people can gather outdoors. For example:

  • Up to 50 people can gather at a park or beach
  • Up to 50 people can gather in the backyard of a residence

Patios and outdoor areas at restaurants, pubs and bars are not included as places to gather with 50 people.

Indoor personal gatherings

Up to 5 visitors or 1 other household can visit a personal residence. For example:

  • Up to 5 people from different households can attend a dinner party at a household of 4 people
  • One household of 7 people can attend a birthday at another household of 4 people

Organized gatherings by sector

Examples of an organized gathering include wedding ceremonies or funerals.

Indoor seated organized gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. These could include things like:
 

Outdoor organized gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. These could include things like:

The order restricts most formal in-person meetings outside the workplace, with some exceptions including:
 

  • The B.C. legislature and cabinet meetings
  • City council meetings. It is recommended virtual meetings be held as much as possible. The public is not allowed to attend
  • Support groups like Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous
  • Critical service meetings

Indoor funerals, wedding ceremonies and baptisms may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 50 people attend, including the officiant.
 

  • Up to 50 people may attend, plus 2 extra people to make sure rules are followed
  • The event organizer and staff present at the event are not included in the 50 people limit
  • If the event organizer also acts as the officiant, that person is included in the 50 people limit

Receptions associated with funerals, weddings or baptisms are not allowed inside homes or venues.

Organizers should review all of the rules and guidelines:
 

Meals for people in need may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 50 people in attendance in addition to the organizer and people assisting. This includes:
 

  • Soup kitchens
  • Meals at shelters
  • Charities offering meals

Pre-packaged meals are the best option to limit gatherings inside a dining area.
 

Funerals conducted by a religious body may be held outdoors (including in open-sided tents and under overhead coverings). Before, during and after the funeral service, people must not gather or socially engage.
 

  • Up to 50 people may attend, plus 4 extra people to make sure rules are followed

Outdoor seated wedding ceremonies may proceed with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 50 people attend if the space allows for social distancing between guests, including the officiant. Before, during and after the wedding service, people must not gather or engage socially. For example, no receptions or dancing.
 

  • Up to 50 people may attend, plus 4 extra people to make sure rules are followed
  • The event organizer and staff present at the event are not included in the 50 people limit
  • If the event organizer also acts as the officiant, that person is included in the 50 people limit

Organizers should review all of the rules and guidelines:
 

The limited operation of perimeter seating vehicles and buses is permitted, subject to restrictions respecting hours of operation and distancing of passengers.

Religious worship services of up to 50 people may be held indoors or outdoors (including in open-sided tents and under overhead coverings).

Organizers should review all of the rules and guidelines:
 


Indoor services

  • Participants need to wear masks at all times, including when they are seated
  • Participants must be 2 metres apart unless they are from the same household

Outdoor services

  • Participants need to arrive and leave wearing masks. They can remove masks when they are seated
  • Participants must be 2 metres apart unless they are from the same household or if they are all seated

Funerals, weddings and baptisms

Funerals and baptisms have separate rules to follow. Weddings are considered events and follow indoor and outdoor organized gatherings rules.
 

Rental and home viewings should be restricted to a maximum of six people, subject to each person present  being able to keep two metres away from every other person present at all times.

Retail businesses are required to continue operating under their COVID-19 Safety Plan. A plan must:
 

  • Establish capacity limits based on 5 square metres of unencumbered space per person
  • Post occupancy limits
  • Where practical, post directional signs to keep people moving in the same direction and not congregating

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

Employers are required to continue operating under their COVID-19 Safety Plans and can begin a return to the workplace and small in-person meetings. 

Daily health check

A daily health check should already be included in every business’s existing COVID-19 Safety Plan.
 

Extracurricular activities

Structured extracurricular activities and programs for children or youth 21 years of age and younger can continue to operate with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. They must be supervised by an adult. These include:
 

  • Education programs
  • Music
  • Art
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Outdoor exercise
  • Recreational programs

Structured extracurricular activities and programs for children or youth are subject to a 50 person limit.


Overnight camps

Overnight camps for youth are allowed to operate. They need to prepare a COVID-19 Safety Plan that aligns with the BC Camps Association COVID-19 Guidelines for Overnight Camps. Camps must submit the COVID-19 Safety Plan to the medical health officer and, if required, make changes to the plan.

 

Exercise

Indoor high intensity and low intensity group exercise

Indoor high intensity and low intensity group exercise is allowed. These include:

High intensity

  • Hot yoga
  • Spin classes 
  • Aerobics
  • Bootcamp
  • High intensity aspects of circuit training
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT)

Low intensity

  • Yoga (Hatha)
  • Exercise machines and cardio equipment
  • Pilates and barre classes
  • Light weightlifting
  • Stretching
  • Tai-Chi

Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high and low intensity group fitness activities must follow the restrictions in the order, including a COVID-19 Safety Plan developed following public health guidelines.

Gyms and recreation facilities

Gyms and recreation facilities that offer individual workouts and personal training sessions can remain open as long as they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that is strictly followed.

Sports

Adult and youth outdoor and indoor group and team sports 

All outdoor and indoor group sports for adults and youth are allowed. This includes:

  • Games
  • Competitions
  • Practices

Contact your local sports organization:

  • For guidance on current COVID-19 Safety Plan requirements
  • To discuss safety plan adjustments that will align with BC's Restart plan

Spectators

Up to 50 spectators are allowed at outdoor sport activities.

Spectators are not allowed at any indoor sport activities. The only people allowed to attend indoor sport activities are those that provide care to a participant or player. For example, providing personal care or first aid to a player. 

Travel for sport

Travel for sport is allowed. 


PHO order on restaurants, pubs and bars

Indoor and outdoor dining is allowed with capacity limits based on physical distancing requirements and other rules, including a maximum of 6 people at a table (not restricted to your household or bubble).

Restaurants, pubs and bars must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place. WorkSafeBC will be conducting inspections to verify that COVID-19 Safety Plans remain effective. Establishments that are non-compliant with plan requirements may face orders and fines, and possible referral to public health which may result in a closure order.


EPA order on masks in public indoor settings

Masks are required for everyone in many public indoor settings, as outlined in the EPA mask mandate order. A face shield is not a substitute for a mask as it has an opening below the mouth.

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 12
  • People who need to remove their masks to communicate due to another person's hearing impairment

Masks are required in many indoor public settings and all retail stores. This includes:

  • Malls, shopping centres
  • Grocery stores
  • Airports
  • Coffee shops
  • On public transportation, in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle
  • Places of worship
  • Libraries
  • Common areas of post-secondary institutions, office buildings, court houses (except court rooms), hospitals and hotels
  • Clothing stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Drug stores
  • Community centres
  • Recreation centres
  • City Halls
  • Restaurants, pubs and bars when not seated at a table
  • Indoor exercise/fitness facilities
  • Indoor sport facilities

You could be subject to a $230 fine if you:

  • Do not wear a mask in an indoor public setting, unless you are exempt
  • Refuse to comply with the direction of an enforcement officer, including the direction to leave the space
  • Engage in abusive or belligerent behaviour

Masks in common and shared living areas

It is strongly recommended that masks be worn in the common areas in apartment buildings and condos, including:

  • Elevators
  • Hallways
  • Lobbies
  • Stairwell

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.