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B.C. issues ‘circuit breaker’ protections to address rising COVID-19 case counts

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 @ 9:37 AM | By Ian Burns

British Columbia has issued new restrictions on indoor dining and fitness as it begins a three-week “circuit breaker” process to address the rise in COVID-19 case counts in the province.

As of March 30, all food and liquor-serving premises must only provide takeout or delivery service. People may dine on a restaurant’s outdoor patio but should do so only with their immediate household or core bubble. Indoor, adult group fitness activities of any kind have also been paused. Gyms and fitness centres are restricted to individual or one-on-one activities, such as personal training. The “circuit breaker” runs until April 19.

“In the last six days we have seen the start of exponential growth,” provincial health officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry said at a press conference announcing the restrictions March 29. “We do not yet have enough people protected with our vaccines to keep our loved ones and our communities safe.”

Travel continues to be limited to essential travel, work or medical reasons only, and all workers are strongly encouraged to work from home where possible. Public health guidance for schools has also been amended to support and encourage students down to Grade 4 to wear masks while at school. A previously announced class variance for limited indoor worship services has been suspended, but outdoor worship services may continue.

“We’ve come a great distance, but we cannot blow it now. We need to redouble our efforts to focus on individual responsibility for the greater good,” Premier John Horgan said. “We know that the idea of more restrictions is not welcome news, but we are asking people to rise to the challenge with the confidence that vaccines mean better days are ahead.”

From March 26 to 29, there were 2,518 new cases of COVID-19 in British Columbia, for a total of 98,195 overall.

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