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More restrictions lifted as B.C. moves to Step 3 of restart plan

(From the files of Lindsay Newman staff)

The province will be moving to Step 3 of its four-step restart plan starting Thursday (Jul 1).

This date was the earliest date where B.C. would move to this step as almost 80% of British Columbians have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and case counts continue to decline.

According to the province, moving into step 3 will also signal the end of the longest provincial state of emergency in B.C.’s history.

Included in Step 3 is face masks are recommended for anyone 12 and older who are not full vaccinated but are not required.

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The province added businesses will gradually transition to new communicable disease plans.

These plans will continue to include physical barriers in many business and retail settings.

Capacity limits, format health screening tests and directional questions and other physical distancing measures will no longer be required but they may still be used during this transition period.

Moving from Step 2 to Step 3 will include:

  • Return to normal for indoor and outdoor personal gatherings
  • Maximum capacity for indoor organized gatherings of 50 people or up to 50% of a venue’s total capacity, whichever is greater
  • Maximum capacity for outdoor organized gatherings of 5,000 people or up to 50% of a venue’s total capacity, whichever is greater
  • Return to normal for fairs, festivals and trade shows, with communicable disease plans
  • Return to Canada-wide recreation travel
  • Reopening of casinos, with reduced capacity and 50% of gaming stations permitted to open
  • Reopening of nightclubs, with up to 10 people seated at tables, no socializing between tables and no dancing.
  • Return to normal hours for liquor service at restaurants, bars and pubs with table limits to be determined by venue and no socializing between tables
  • Return to normal for sports and exercise facilities with communicable disease plans
  • Mask wearing is recommended in indoor public spaces for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated.

B.C will also be allowing travel from across Canada but travellers are being asked to plan ahead and be respectful while visiting communities, especially smaller and rural towns.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has also issued travel manners and guidelines for everyone travelling within the province:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Pre-trip planning and research before arriving at your destination
  • Respecting any local travel advisories to isolated, remote and Indigenous communities
  • Following mask guidelines
  • Respecting personal space and practising good hygiene, including frequent handwashing
  • No travelling for anyone who is sick and if symptoms develop while travelling- self isolate immediately and contact 811 for guidance and testing.

The province added numerous meetings have taken place since the launch of BC’s Restart Plan as a part of the government’s ongoing engagement.

B.C is expected to move into Step 4 of its Restart Plan on Sept 7, the earliest.

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