Province-wide restrictions

By order and direction of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all events and social gatherings are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel. 

Last updated: November 25, 2020

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PHO order on province-wide restrictions

By order and direction of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all events and social gatherings are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel. 

The order is in effect from November 19, 2020 at midnight to December 7, 2020 at midnight.


Events and social gatherings

All in-person events and community-based gatherings as defined in the PHO order – Gatherings and Events (PDF) are suspended, with the exception of weddings, funerals, baptisms, support group meetings and business meetings. For example:

  • Galas
  • Musical or theatre performances
  • Seasonal activities, including indoor and outdoor holiday events
  • Silent auctions
  • Movie viewings in cinemas

Social gatherings

No social gatherings of any size at your residence with anyone other than your household or core bubble. For example:

  • Do not invite friends or extended family to your household 
  • Do not host gathering outdoors
  • Do not gather in your backyard
  • Do not have playdates for children

Core bubble

For most people, their core bubble is their immediate household. An immediate household is a group of people who live in the same dwelling. For example:

  • If you have a rental suite in your home, the suite is a separate household
  • If you live in an apartment or house with roommates, you are all members of the same household

For others, including people who live alone, their core bubble may also contain a partner, relative, friend or co-parent who lives in a different household. This should be a maximum of two people outside of those living in your immediate household.

Co-parenting and supporting isolated family members

For those who parent from separate households or rely on a family member or close friends for support with things like picking up children after school or delivering essential items like mail, medication or groceries, these activities can continue.

People who live alone

For people who live alone, a core bubble is a maximum of two people you see regularly. You must not host gatherings. 

University students

Welcoming your child home from university is okay. This is not a social gathering. 

Restrictions by sector 

Funerals, weddings and baptisms may proceed with a limited number of people and a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. You can have a maximum of 10 people attend, including the officiant. 
 

Receptions associated with funerals, weddings or baptisms are not allowed at any location, that includes:
 

  • Inside or outside homes
  • Any public or community-based venues

The order does not restrict formal meetings. They can continue to operate with COVID-19 safety protocols. For example:
 

  • City council meetings
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Group support meetings
  • Business meetings

It is recommended that virtual meetings be held as much as possible.

Rental and home viewings are already restricted to a maximum of six people, if space allows. People hosting viewings must use layers of protection, like masks and support virtual viewing options as much as possible.

Religious in-person gatherings and worship services are suspended under the order. For example:
 

  • Do not attend a service at a church, synagogue, mosque, gurdwara, temple, or other places of worship

Religious services can continue using remote or virtual attendance options, like Zoom or Skype.

You can still visit your place of worship for individual activities such as  contemplation or personal prayer.

Employers must review and redouble their efforts on their COVID-19 Safety Plan, remind employees to monitor themselves daily and to always stay home if they have symptoms.

Employers must make every effort to provide work from home options.  
 

Daily health check

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

 

Allowed activities

These activities are not considered a social gathering:

  • Going for a walk. You must make sure a walk does not turn into a group of people meeting outside
  • Parents carpooling kids to and from school
  • Grandparents providing child care

Restaurants, pubs and bars

You must wear a mask when not at a table. Events are no longer allowed. 

Restaurants, pubs and bars can continue to operate if they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and employee protocols in place. 

  • Remember, a maximum of six people at a table and no moving between tables

WorkSafeBC will be conducting inspections to verify that COVID-19 Safety Plans remain effective. Establishments that are noncompliant with plan requirements may face orders and fines, and possible referral to public health which may result in a closure order.


Athletic activities

Group indoor fitness activities

Businesses, recreation centres or other organizations that organize or operate high risk indoor group physical activities must suspend the following activities:

  • Spin classes
  • Hot yoga
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT)

Venues that organize or operate other types of indoor group physical activities must suspend them temporarily while new guidance is being developed. These include:

  • Gymnastics
  • Dance studios
  • Martial arts
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Cheerleading

Venues must use the new guidance to update and re-post their COVID-19 Safety Plan before resuming operations. 

Businesses who close due to COVID-19 restrictions could be eligible to receive rent support of up to 90 percent.

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 games, competitions and practices

Games, competitions and practices can continue with no spectators and no travel for teams outside of their community.

ViaSport is currently reviewing the guidance and working with public health to ensure the best options for this period of the pandemic. Revised guidance will be released soon.

  • Leagues are encouraged to review their own COVID-19 safety plans and focus on preventing crowding at benches and before and after games 

Spectators

No spectators are allowed at any sport activities under the order. The only people allowed to attend sport activities are those that provide care to a participant or player. For example, providing first aid. 

Travel for team athletic activities

Travel to, from and between communities for team athletic activities like games, competitions, training and practice is prohibited under this order. For example:

  • A team from Abbotsford cannot attend a training session in Chilliwack
  • A team from Victoria cannot attend a practice in Richmond

Exemptions

High performance athletes, professional athletes and professional performers like dancers are not included in the order. To qualify as a high performance athlete, you must be:

  • Identified by the Canadian Sports Institute Pacific as a high performance athlete affiliated with an accredited provincial or national sports organization
  • Already training in B.C.
  • Continuing to follow the safety guidelines of your provincial sports organization

Mask requirements in public indoor settings

As outlined in the mask mandate order, masks are required for everyone in many public indoor settings. 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

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, 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
  • Sport or fitness facilities when not working out

Mask enforcement

You are 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 at workplaces and shared living areas

Emergency Management BC is reviewing other community locations where a mask mandate may be advisable and anticipates issuing a further order to enforce requirements for masks in common areas of apartment buildings, condos and workplaces.

It is strongly recommended that masks be worn in the following areas:

  • Common areas in apartment buildings and condos, including:
    • Elevators
    • Hallways
    • Lobbies
    • Stairwells
  • Shared indoor workplace spaces, including:
    • Elevators
    • Kitchens
    • Hallways
    • Break rooms

Travel advisory

At this time, all non-essential travel should be avoided. This includes travel into and out of B.C. and between regions of the province. For example:

  • Do not travel for a vacation
  • Do not travel to visit friends or family outside of your household or core bubble

What is essential travel?

Individual circumstances may affect whether a trip is considered essential or non-essential. Essential travel within B.C. includes:

  • Regular travel for work within your region
  • Travel for things like medical appointments and hospital visits

For example, if you live in Vancouver and work in Surrey you can continue to commute. 

If you need to travel for essential reasons, take the same health and safety precautions you do at home.

  • Wash your hands often
  • Practice safe distancing, 2 m
  • Travel only with yourself, household or pandemic bubble
  • Stick to the outdoors whenever possible
  • Clean spaces often
  • Wear a mask in indoor spaces

Travel for mountain sports

Ski and snowboard at your local mountains. For example, if you live in Vancouver, you should ski at Cypress, Grouse or Mt. Seymour. 

Coming from outside of B.C.

At this time, people travelling to B.C. from another province or territory within Canada should only come for essential reasons. If you do travel, you are expected to follow the same travel guidelines as everyone else in B.C.

Flights to and from B.C.

The order does not restrict flights entering and leaving B.C.


Enforcement

During a public health emergency under the Public Health Act, the PHO can make orders as needed. You must follow the orders. 

Under the Government’s Emergency Program Act, some orders can be enforced by police or other compliance and enforcement officials. People who don't follow these orders could be fined.

Workplace enforcement

In addition to compliance activities by WorkSafe, an Environmental Health Officers team will focus on workplaces in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions to ensure COVID-19 Safety Plan compliance and enable rapid response and action.