A skier wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the first day of the downhill ski season at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, B.C. Friday, November 13, 2020. Recreational travel has been suspended across B.C. until at least Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS

A skier wears a face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the first day of the downhill ski season at Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver, B.C. Friday, November 13, 2020. Recreational travel has been suspended across B.C. until at least Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS

COVID-19: B.C. extends private gathering ban province-wide

Recreational travel, religious service also banned until Dec. 7

B.C.’s ban on private gatherings in the Lower Mainland has been extended province-wide and will continue for another two weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Social, recreational, sports and vacation trips are off across the province, and indoor exercise classes such as spin, interval training and hot yoga are also suspended everywhere in B.C.

Another public health order shuts down in-person religious services until at least Dec. 7, after they have been allowed to operate under the 50-person limit in recent months. Exceptions are allowed for weddings, funerals or baptisms with a maximum of 10 people present, and no receptions afterward. Daycares, addiction support meetings and other activities in church, gurdwara or temple buildings are allowed to continue, as are social service visits to homes by religious organizations.

The two-week duration of the province-wide order is to slow a rapid growth in coronavirus infections that has gone past 700 a day this week. “We may need to extend that,” Henry said Nov. 19. “That’s one incubation period.”

Henry said the intent of the province-wide private residence restriction is to only socialize with those in your immediate household for the next two weeks.

“It is OK to go for a walk outside with a friend,” she said. “It’s OK to make sure that your grandparents pick up the kids at school, or that you’re able to fix the furnace in your mother’s house. Those are not social gatherings and social events.”

RELATED: More senior home protection needed, industry group says

RELATED: Masks now mandatory in B.C. indoor public, retail spaces

Spectators at indoor or outdoor sporting events are also banned until the end of December, and all travel outside communities associated with sports is suspended. Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said the orders are designed to target areas of rapid virus spread, and businesses such as gyms and pubs will see stepped up inspections to check on their safety measures.

Patrons at restaurants and pubs are expected to wear masks when they are away from their tables, such as to go to washrooms. Henry said pubs and bars are a particular concern, after alcohol sales were restricted to 10 p.m.

“If you are thinking of skiing, go to a local mountain,” Henry said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Okanagan Regional Library is holding a pair of online contests for its young readers. (File photo)
Okanagan Regional Library challenges young readers

Pair of contests online aimed at kids aged up to 18

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Veteran Henry Kriwokon has his photo taken by the Western as he celebrates his 99th birthday with friends at the Cellar in Downtown Penticton. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Turning 101, Penticton veteran looks back on life

Henry Kriwokon was one of the soldiers in the famous ‘Wait for me, Daddy’ photo

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

A Dodge Ram pickup similar to this one was involved in a hit-and-run in Lake Country on Saturday, Jan. 16. (Crime Stoppers photo)
Stolen truck involved in Okanagan hit-and-run

Incident happened on Highway 97 in Lake Country just before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Most Read