What will Christmas look like? Will COVID-19 restrictions be extended in B.C.?
It’s been a month since B.C. tightened COVID-19 restrictions in its most populated regions, and now, we’re set to get some more clarity about how well those measures have worked.
Last week, Dr. Bonnie Henry delayed a decision on whether to end restrictions, which began with a clampdown on gatherings in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health.
First brought in on Nov. 7, the order — which requires people stick to their households — was set to expire after a two-week period or be extended, depending on the COVID-19 situation across the province. It was extended for another two weeks on Nov. 23.
The new restrictions, which were met with widespread confusion, were enacted across B.C. when cases began to near a thousand a day. As the number of new infections continues to spike across B.C. — and Canada — it remains to be seen if the province will crack down further to bring the COVID-19 curve down or if it will relax the rules with holiday celebrations just weeks away.
So far, there’s been no direction on what British Columbians can expect for the holidays. Friday’s update saw 711 cases across the province as 338 people remain in hospital, with 76 people in critical care.
Premier John Horgan has said people need to be focused on staying home, with Hanukkah and Christmas around the corner.
“This is a critical, dangerous time for British Columbia with respect to COVID 19,” Horgan said. “It’s absolutely essential we reduce interactions with people. There will be difficult times ahead for family gatherings.”
“What I want for Christmas is for everyone to stay home and stay safe so we can get through to next year,” said Henry, echoing the message that people shouldn’t be travelling if they don’t need to be and stressing the importance of staying in “tight, confined bubbles” for the time being.
Meanwhile, among measures recently introduced is the long-debated mask mandate, which was put into place just two weeks ago. However, case numbers have remained relatively high — charting between 650-to-900 day to day.
The mandate requires people wear masks in all retail and indoor public place settings, except for classrooms.
Masks should also be worn in workplaces when in shared areas and in places where physical distancing isn’t possible, such as elevators.
Resistance to wearing masks has lead to an increase in violence, according to retail and service industry workers.
You can watch the provincial health update this afternoon on our website. Stay with NEWS 1130 for the latest.