They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer but Dr. Bonnie Henry is now ordering everyone to keep away.
A new provincial health order issued this weekend is banning indoor and outdoor social gatherings and group physical activities for a period of two weeks, in light of a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases throughout Metro Vancouver.
“In the last two weeks, we have seen a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and outbreaks in health-care facilities centred primarily in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions,” said Henry on Saturday.
“These are the result of transmission in people’s homes and in many workplaces, including food processing facilities, retail locations, public venues, as well as with indoor group physical activities.”
With B.C.’s second wave of infection underway, officials are hoping the two-week period will help significantly slow rates of infection.
Here’s what you need to know about Metro Vancouver’s two-week lockdown and what it means for you.
When does the order go into effect and who does it apply to?
• This order went into effect Nov. 7 at 10 p.m. and ends Nov. 23 at noon.
• It applies to all individuals, workplaces and businesses located in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions, with the exception of Hope, the central coast and the Bella Coola Valley.
What’s defined as an immediate household?
• An immediate household is defined as those you live with or in some cases, those who share a pandemic bubble with you.
• They would be the people you spend the most time with, are physically close to, and who are a part of your regular routine. This could be an immediate family member, a close friend or contact (such as a co-parent) that you have regular close contact with.
• Those in your immediate household or pandemic bubble should only be interacting with each other inside the same bubble.
What does the order say about social gatherings?
• As per the provincial health order, you cannot gather socially with anyone outside of your immediate household , no matter how small the gathering is. If you do not live with them or share a pandemic bubble with them, you cannot physically socialize with them.
• This includes outdoor meetings, indoor meetings, and meeting at a restaurant.
• A walk is not considered a social gathering however you must be mindful that the walk does not become a mobile social gathering.
• Those who live alone can maintain their previously established immediate household or bubble, and can visit with those in their bubble at home, outside or at a restaurant.
What about events that include COVID-19 protocols like physical distancing?
• You cannot host any events or gatherings, even if you stick to the 50-person limit, and even if you have physical distancing in place.
• Funerals and weddings may proceed but only with people in your immediate household. Associated receptions inside or outside your home, or at any public or community-based venue are banned.
• Party buses and group limousines have been ordered to stop operating until further notice.
What about group physical activities?
• All spin classes, group fitness classes, dance classes or indoor group physical activities have been suspended until updated COVID-19 safety plans approved by officials are in place. This includes recreation centres or businesses operating indoor group physical activities.
• Indoor sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained are also suspended during this time. It can, however, be replaced with individual exercise or practice with reduced numbers and strict physical distancing.
• Travel for sports into or out of Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions is not permitted at this time.
What about workplaces and work sites?
• Businesses and worksites must conduct active daily health screenings of all workers entering the site.
• Workplaces must maintain strict physical distancing between workers and customers, and wear masks when needed.
• Those in small offices, break rooms and kitchens must be extra careful.