Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020. Indoor dining in B.C. resumed May 25, 2021 after a second suspension due to COVID-19 infection risk. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020. Indoor dining in B.C. resumed May 25, 2021 after a second suspension due to COVID-19 infection risk. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Indoor dining, up to 5 home visitors allowed in B.C. COVID-19 restart

Out-of region recreational travel ban, mask rules remain in place

B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan has begun with a return of indoor restaurant dining for up to six people, and indoor home gatherings for up to five people or one additional household.

Tuesday (May 25) begins the first of four stages of lifting public health restrictions, and further stages depend on coronavirus infection rates and hospitalizations remaining stable. Rules for indoor dining and fitness have returned to what they were before the “circuit breaker” restrictions took effect at the end of March, with dining and liquor service until 10 p.m. If coronavirus infection rates continue to fall and vaccination rates to rise, that would extend to midnight as early as June 15.

“The circuit breaker restrictions that we put in place six weeks ago have done what they were supposed to do,” said Premier John Horgan, adding that bookings are now accepted for recreational trips, as long as they are within the three regions of the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the B.C. Interior.

RELATED: 50 people expected for B.C. sports events this summer

RELATED: Here’s who you can see, and where, as B.C. reopens

Travel between those regions remains restricted to essential trips until mid-June, and after that people should check for local travel advisories before planning a trip.

The earliest point where mask and social distance rules could be relaxed is in phase three, in early July, based on B.C. reaching 70 per cent vaccination of eligible people. That would allow nightclubs and casinos to reopen with capacity restrictions, and a return to normal for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings. Early July could also see the end of the longest provincial emergency declaration in B.C. history, since March of 2020.

Phase two also allows for outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people and the same limits for seating-controlled theatres and banquet halls. Regional travel restrictions may also be removed as soon as June 15 if infection rates remain stable or continue to decline.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said step one is possible because B.C. has reached 60 per cent of first-dose vaccination for the adult population. The biggest surge of infections has subsided since it peaked in March, as the province-wide vaccination program has opened up to all adults.

“As we have seen all along in this pandemic, people in B.C. stepped up,” Henry said, both with following physical distance and mask requirements, and registering and receiving vaccine appointments.

The fourth step is scheduled for as early at Sept. 7, as schools and colleges return to in-class teaching. It would include increased capacity for larger gatherings such as weddings and religious services, and removal of limits on indoor and outdoor sports spectators.

“Maybe we’ll even get to watch the Canucks this fall,” Henry said. “Maybe they’ll have a good season.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

There were no injuries in a fire on the KFP deck, and an estimated $3,000 damage. Photo: Submitted
Nelson fire department extinguishes blaze on KFP dock

The fire originated in a tent, but there were no injuries

Starting on June 15 the Nelson Public Library will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Photo: Submitted
CHECK THIS OUT: Nelson library returns to regular hours

The library will still require masks and no seating for the time being

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read