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B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon

B.C. moving to step three of restart plan July 1

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 @ 10:16 AM | By Ian Burns

With COVID-19 cases counts declining and nearly 80 per cent of its citizens having received their first dose of a vaccine, British Columbia will begin step three of its four-step restart plan July 1.

Premier John Horgan officially announced the move at a press conference June 29. He said the province has “stepped up at every stage throughout this pandemic.”

“I believe it is now safe for us to move forward,” he said. “That means we can cheer for our kids at soccer games; we can go to a friend’s place for dinner or go to a concert. We can engage again in what makes life so important.”

Moving to step three means the end to the longest provincial state of emergency in B.C.’s history, which will be lifted on June 30 at 11:59 p.m. B.C.’s public health emergency will remain in effect during step three to support amended public health orders from the provincial health officer (PHO), with reduced requirements.

Step three includes a maximum capacity for indoor organized gatherings of 50 people or up to 50 per cent of a venue’s total capacity, whichever is greater. For outdoor organized gatherings there will be a maximum capacity of 5,000 people or up to 50 per cent of total capacity, and restaurants and bars will return to normal hours for liquor service, with table limits to be determined by venue and no socializing between tables. Casinos will open at reduced capacity, with sports and exercise facilities returning to normal operations. Mask wearing is still recommended in indoor public spaces for all people 12 and older who are not yet fully vaccinated.

B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon

B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon

Ravi Kahlon, the province’s minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, said moving to step three is a major milestone for the province.

“We can now resume more of the activities and occasions we enjoy, workplaces and businesses will have more flexibility, and it opens the door for more economic activity as we transition into summer,” he said. “We are able to take this step because of the work everyone is doing to keep themselves and each other safe.”

Businesses will gradually transition to new communicable disease plans, with guidelines for these plans having been released by WorkSafeBC on June 28. These plans will continue to include physical barriers at many business and retail settings. Capacity limits, formal health screening tests and directional arrows, as well as other physical distancing measures will no longer be required.

“Because of the efforts of people in B.C., we continue to see a significant decline in new cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and deaths as the number of people who are fully immunized goes up,” said provincial health officer Bonnie Henry. “Public health teams throughout the province are closely watching the case data to ensure we maintain this positive momentum as we safely and gradually move into Step 3 of our Restart plan.”

On July 10, 2020, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force, enabling provisions created for citizens and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed after the end of the provincial state of emergency. Under the provisions of this Act, police and other enforcement officials will continue to be able to issue tickets for anyone who is contravening the gatherings and events or food and liquor premises public health orders, which will remain in place. This includes fines for people who are being abusive or belligerent about the requirements of public health orders.

For more about B.C.’s restart plan please see here.

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